Second-Class Citizen

by Buchi Emecheta

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Compare and contrast Adah with Francis in Second-Class Citizen.

In Second-Class Citizen, Adah and Francis are alike in that at the beginning of the novel, they are both poor students. In nearly every other way, however, they are opposites, for Adah is strong and determined to make a better life and takes active steps toward doing so while Francis denies his responsibilities and is weak, lazy, controlling, and abusive.

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There are far more points of contrast than comparison between Adah and Francis in Buchi Emecheta's Second-Class Citizen. We can, however, identify a couple points of comparison, at least early on in the novel. When Adah and Francis marry, both of them are students, and both of them are poor. Francis cannot even pay Adah's bride-price, yet she chooses him anyway, hoping to have some stability in her life so she can continue her education.

The similarities pretty much end there, however, for Adah and Francis turn out to be two completely different people with different goals and personalities. Adah is a strong woman with deep and lasting dreams and a determination to achieve them at all costs. She struggles greatly, but she keeps on going, working and caring for her children the best she can. She tries to make her life better, finding jobs she enjoys and pursuing her writing. Adah tends to be both optimistic and realistic. While she hopes her life will get better, she takes active steps to make it do so.

Francis is just the opposite of Adah. He is weak and lazy. Instead of valuing the educational opportunities he has been given, he fails his exams. Then he blames Adah for his failures. When he has to go to work, Francis complains mightily, accusing Adah of being lazy even when she is recovering from giving birth. Francis is also controlling and abusive. Even though Adah earns most of the family's money, Francis considers it his. He also beats Adah physically and attacks her emotionally. He burns his wife's manuscript, too, out of spite and jealousy. In the end, Francis refuses to even take responsibility for his own children. He denies that they are his and burns the paperwork that proves they are.

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