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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Ecofeminism in “Yellow-Yellow”

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Many people have argued that Yellow-Yellow is an exo-feminist novel. How true is their argument? Well, we are about to find out.

Meanwhile, in my previous post, I discussed the major themes in Yellow-Yellow. Do well to check it out.

After this section of the literature analysis, we should be able to conclude whether or not Yellow-Yellow is written from the eco-feminism point of view.

Let’s dive in.

What is Ecofeminism?

Ecofeminism is a branch of feminism that believes that the natural environment and women share a close affinity. By extension, eco feminists analyse the relationship between human being and the natural world, using women as the point of contact.

Reeling from the narrative, Niger Delta is an oil-rich region that has been abused, exploited and damaged by oil companies over the years. Thus making life uneasy for the people living in the area.

Considering the challenges such as climate change, land barrenness, air and water pollution etc that confront the Niger Delta as a result of oil exploration, we see that women are at the centre of it all.

That doesn’t sink, right? Keep reading…

“Yellow-Yellow” as an Eco-Feminist Novel

To buttress the aforementioned, some of the factors pointing to the fact that “Yellow-Yellow” is an eco-feminist novel will be discussed below. Note that these factors include the style and techniques used in “Yellow-Yellow.”

1. The setting of “Yellow-Yellow”.

The novel is set in the Niger Delta region during post-colonial times. This period was the wake of oil discovery in Nigeria, as such the period was notorious for serious oil exploration.

See also  Thematic Analysis of "Yellow-Yellow" by Kaine Agary

The activities of the oil companies, however, result in serious damage to the natural environment. From the text, we see how farmlands are flooded with crude oil, how waters are contaminated with chemical wastes from oil companies.

So, we see very clearly the abuse, exploitation and destruction of the physical environment in “Yellow-Yellow”.

2. Use of Female Kid Narrator

Now, to establish the novel as an eco-feminist novel, Kaine Agary deployed the instrument of the female kid-narrator through the character of Zilayefa.

See also  Thematic Analysis of "Yellow-Yellow" by Kaine Agary

Obviously, we are made to see the predicament of humanity and the natural world in the Niger Delta through the eyes of a woman, who herself, is a victim of the plagued environment.

Typically, Zilayefa narrates the ordeal of the Niger Delta as an active participant and co-victim using the first-person narrative point of view. Therefore, we have the portraiture of the Niger Delta saga from a first-hand experience.

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3. The Woman Predicament

To further establish the concept of ecofeminism in “Yellow-Yellow”, we see that Kaine Agary places women at the centre of the Niger Delta eco-crises.

Throughout the novel, women are seen as the most affected victims of the plagues ravaging the oil rich region.

Recall that Binabei, Emem, Zilayefa and other young village girls are prey in the hands of the Whiteys and male workers of the oil companies who often take advantage of their impoverishment to abuse them sexually.

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In the same way, women are portrayed as the breadwinners of their families. They practically feed and fend for the family. For instance, we see Zilayefa’s mother who represents a largesse of the Niger Delta women as a farmer and fisherwoman.

Generally, we see how women perform the male roles, we see their travails and struggle for survival. We see them right at the centre of the narrative.

4. Displaced Male Figure

Though the concept of eco-feminism deals with universal problems which also affect the male gender in equal proportion, we can deduce from the text that Agary is intentional about placing women at the forefront of the Niger Delta narrative.

After a close reading of “Yellow-Yellow”, we see that men are portrayed as evil. Nearly all of them are horrible. From Sergio and Admiral to other male figures in the text.

Knowing fully well that yellow yellow and her co “ashawo pikins”; add “Born troways” are a product of promiscuity, we see the absence of a father figure in the lives of these kids.

So we see how very much indeed the displacement of the male figure contributed to the development of the narrative as an ecofeminist novel.

See also  Alapata Apata: Dramatising the Nigerian Saga (Themes)— Review I


Summarily, we have examined the concept of eco-feminism as explaining and fighting environmental problems through the eyes of the female gender. Also, we highlighted some of the techniques the author deployed in Yellow-Yellow which contributed to its development as an eco-feminist novel.

We hope that you like our literature review. We love to read your comment and feedback. Also, if you have any literature text you want us to review in our next blog post, please let us know in the comment section.

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Abegunde Israel
Abegunde Israel is a senior writer and SEO expert. With a B.A degree in English (in view), he specialises in researching, writing, and editing articles. He is a pioneer writer at Naijabanquet and ChristianGists blogs. Some of his articles are also featured on the OperaNewsHub, VacancyApply, and Dailygam websites.
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