Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
The ending of The Joys of Motherhood underscores Emecheta's ironic intention. At the end of the novel, Nnu Ego dies, and her children throw her a lavish and expensive funeral. She had suffered all her life, had frequently been on the verge of starvation, and had lived out her final days alone and broke in Ibuza. Her only desire had been to be a complete woman, and to have many children, so that she could be an honored woman in her society.
But during Nnu Ego's lifetime, her children fail to help her financially. Now, when she's dead, her children honor her. They create a shrine so that Nnu Ego's descendents can pray to her and ask her to bless them with children. But in death, Nnu Ego refuses to answer the prayers of her children. She has decided that bearing and raising children is a thankless task, and she is unwilling to help those who struggle with infertility.