What literary theory can be used to examine Konadu's A Woman in Her Prime? 

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Asare Konadu's A Woman in Her Prime can be examined using a Feminist lens. Feminist Literary Criticism examines a text regarding its perpetuation of patriarchal ideologies or its pull away from it. In regards to this text, A Woman in Her Prime defines the power of a woman outside of patriarchal power. 

Pokuwaa, the main character of the text, proves to be a true feminist figure who refuses male domination. She is wealthy, a fact she reminds her husband of. Her culture is ones which raises up matriarchal power. Having been twice married and divorced, her third husband works to insure her happiness for fear the same fate will befall him as well. 

Given Pokuwaa's inability to become pregnant (although she does eventually) ilustrates the true power of a woman based upon her person. Since the only thing which truly separates a man from a woman is the womans' ability to give birth, Pokuwaa's infertility proves her real worth lies somewhere other than her ability to have children. 

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Literary theories by their very nature claim to be comprehensive systems for explaining literature. Thus, in fact, any literary theory should be applicable to any literary work. This being said, often in the attempt to apply literary theory to a work, we discover the limitations of the theory itself. 

For example, it could be argued that applying European feminist theory to Asare Konadu's A Woman In Her Prime, a Ghanian novel set in a traditional village, is itself an act of colonial appropriation, imposing western, white, middle class values upon an African work. Instead, it could be argued that a more appropriate lens through which to view Konadu's work might be that of African feminist or postcolonial theory.

Another possible choice would be psychoanalytic criticism, focusing on the dynamics of the way Pokuwaa's religious and ritualistic understanding of her barrenness might reflect internal responses to cultural or psychological trauma, although such an approach could also be criticized as rooted in European cultural prejudices.

Another recent theoretical perspective might be that of literary Darwinism, which applies evolutionary biology to literary works. From this perspective, one might investigate the evolutionary value of post- or non-reproductive women within the village society.

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