Second-Class Citizen

by Buchi Emecheta
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Comment on Adah’s relationship with her children in Second-Class Citizen.

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Adah’s relationship with her children is governed by her desire to make the best possible life for them. However, she is also deeply aware that every time Francis pressures her into getting pregnant, their financial hardship grows more severe.

On one hand, Adah cares deeply for her children, and their relationship is one in which she does everything she can to ensure their safety and well-being. On the other hand, she is deeply aware that each child they have places extra emotional and financial strain on her life. With her husband being an abusive and lazy man, it’s up to Adah to look after her family, and she tries to take control of the size of her burgeoning brood by using contraception. Francis, however, violently thwarts this plan.

With that said, she is deeply protective of her children. One of the most memorable moments in which Adah shows her protectiveness towards her children is when she catches Titi and Vicky’s childminder spending time with a man while her children are playing outside with no one taking care of them. Despite her fury, Adah has no choice but to leave her children where they are, because Francis refuses to take care of them while she goes to work. Trudy’s improper care is soon shown again when Vicky gets meningitis and nearly dies. This time, Adah ensures that her children are enrolled in a nursery school where they will be properly cared for.

Throughout the story, Adah makes continuous efforts to create a better life for her and her children. She ultimately protects her children by leaving the physically abusive Francis and getting an apartment of her own.

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