Study Guide

The Joys of Motherhood Education

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Nnu Ego, the protagonist of The Joys of Motherhood puts her hope in her children's education, and specifically in Oshia's education. She believes that once he's educated, he'll get a good job, and the whole family will benefit. Not only will he be able to help pay for the rest of the children's education, but perhaps she and Nnaife won't go hungry in their old age. But Western-style education drives an enormous cultural wedge between Nnu Ego and her children, as they assume conflicting values that frustrate her expectations. Even her twin girls, who only receive a little education, are "educated" by living in urban Lagos, and they don't have the same traditional values that Nnu Ego holds.

Questions About Education

  1. What is the value of education in this novel? How does Nnu Ego learn the value of education?
  2. What kind of education do the boys in this novel receive? What about the girls? Why are there differences between genders?
  3. Why does Oshia receive the best education? Do you think that's fair? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Although Nnu Ego struggled to provide her children with education so they could have advantages and get good jobs, the education they received ultimately alienated them from her.

Even though education is a good thing, it is unfortunate when it serves to separate you from your heritage and family.

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