The pamphlet, “Beware of Women,” as the title suggests, mainly functions as a piece of anti-female propaganda. According to the author, women will likely poison any man who has a pound in his pocket (other interesting revelations of the pamphlet- dogs are apparently immune to poison). But in between the mess of advice letters, lists, small anecdotes and “author comments”, the text often digressed from the anti-woman statement. I think it would be interesting to analyze these digressions and see what the pamphlet is actually saying about African men, hidden within a text about African women.

Toward the end of the text, a few pages are made up lists of questions for boys and men. There is also a list of the responsibilities men have (34). Almost all of these responsibilities have to do with money and the maintenance of family. A number of them begin “Whether a man has money or not,” so while the pamphlet says it is necessary to be wealthy, qualifying ever statement in this way makes money central to a man’s sense of obligation and identity.

In a following section entitled “Questions for Men,” the author addresses what it means to be a fundamentally “good” man and a “bad” man. The qualities praised in this passage are very traditional- hardworking, God fearing, brave, clever, etc. However, the questions become more and more about the relationship men should have with money. For example, question 9- “Is it true that good men do not have big money?” (37). Within this segment there seems to be a disbelief that wealth can be earned in an honest way. The author almost seems to be convincing the audience that it is worth it to earn money through hard work as opposed to thievery. With the corruption that occurs within the Nigerian economy and the importance that is placed upon a man’s individual wealth, this pamphlet that is advertised as a How and why-to-avoid Women guide actually touches on deep seeded Nigerian issues.

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About kwhudkins

I am a Junior at American University studying Literature and Multi-Ethnic Studies.

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