Second-Class Citizen

by Buchi Emecheta

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What is Adah's relationship with her children in Second-Class Citizen?

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Adah's relationship with children is complex in Second-Class Citizen. On the one hand, she's a loving mother. On the other hand, she realizes that having children severely restricts her lifestyle and career choices.

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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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Describe Adah's relationship with children in Second-Class Citizen.

Adah's husband Francis is an old-fashioned Nigerian man who doesn't believe in any kind of birth control except natural family planning. Inevitably, this means that Adah ends up giving birth at regular intervals, which places considerable emotional and financial strain upon the young couple.

To make matters worse, Adah has to be the chief breadwinner in the family while Francis studies at home. As the traditional male, Francis, isn't prepared to take care of the children, Adah must farm them out to child-minders, one of whom, Trudy, is simply not suitable for the job.

There's little doubt that Adah loves her children dearly and will gladly do anything for them. At the same time, there's no getting away from the fact that having so many children has had the effect of severely narrowing her horizons. Having all these children reduces Adah's control over her life, so she attempts to gain control by using contraception.

However, Adah's use of a contraceptive cap is ultimately unsuccessful, and she has two more children. Once again, there's no doubting Adah's absolute devotion to her children; she's determined to do all she can to give them the best start in life.

But at the same time, one can only imagine how much more control Adah would have over her life if she were able to determine for herself how many children she should have.

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