Anthills of the Savannah

by Chinua Achebe

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What is a description of Beatrice in "Anthills of the Savannah"?

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In Anthills of the Savannah Chinua Achebe uses the character of Beatrice to demonstrate that Nigerian women are more than capable of asserting themselves and breaking free from the restraints of traditional patriarchal culture. And that's precisely what Beatrice proceeds to do. She's a highly educated, intelligent, articulate woman who chooses to remain unmarried in open defiance of the prevailing gender norms. This gives her the freedom and the independence to pursue a successful career as Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. Politically aware and self-empowered, Beatrice knew long before she'd even heard of women's liberation that she didn't need a man to complete her. Achebe's telling of Beatrice's story through first person narration merely adds to our impression that she is a strong, forceful character with a distinctive voice of her own.

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Beatrice is a fully developed female character who transcends gender expertations.  She is the fifth daughter in her family, and her name means "A Woman is Also Something", because when she was born, her father had wanted a boy.  Beatrice has been educated at the University of London, and holds a post as an administrator in a state office.  She is also a writer.

Beatrice is sophisticated and intelligent, and has a gift to be able to connect with the common people of the land.  She has been described as ambitious, but in reality she has never aspired to high office and her greatest desire is to be allowed to live a peaceful life away from the limelight. 

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