The Joys of Motherhood
How we cite our quotes:
Her baby…her baby! Nnu Ego's arms involuntarily went to hold her aching breasts, more for assurance of her motherhood than to ease their weight. She felt the milk trickling out, wetting her buba blouse; and the other choking pain got heavier, nearing her throat, as if determined to squeeze the very life out of her there and then. But, unlike the milk, this pain could not come out, though it urged her on, and she was running, running away from it. Yet it was there inside her. There was only one way to rid herself of it. For how would she be able to face the world after what had happened? No, it was better not to try. It was best to end it all this way, the only good way. (1.4)
Nnu Ego's shame that she has lost her motherhood after her baby dies propels her towards suicide.
It is said that those about to die, be it by drowning or by a gradual terminal illness, use their last few moments of consciousness going through their life kaleidoscopically, and Nnu Ego was no exception. (1.9)
Even as she plans to jump to her death, Nnu Ego reflects on her life.
Ona went to do as she was told, thinking to herself how unfair it was that Agbadi should accuse her of having a heart of stone. How else could she behave since she could not marry him? Because her father had no sons, she had been dedicated to the gods to produce children in his name, not that of any husband. Oh, how torn she was between two men: she had to be loyal to her father, as well as to her lover Agbadi. (2.35)
We see the importance of having sons here. Men must have their names passed down from one generation to the next through their sons. Because Ona's father had no sons, Ona must sacrifice her life so her father achieves his immortality through having children.