Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. In her U.S. debut, Nigerian immigrant Unigwe sets a melancholy tale in her adopted home of. An Excerpt from Chika Unigwe's On Black Sisters' Street. By Nkem Egenuka on Thu, 28/09/ - The world was exactly as it should be. No more and. 'On Black Sisters Street' tells the haunting story of four very different women who have left English sample of 'On Black Sisters' Street' by Chika Unigwepdf.
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On Black Sisters' Street. Home · On Black Sisters' Street Sisters On the Case · Read more Summer on Blossom Street. Read more. “ [‘On Black Sisters Street’ is] boiling with a sly, generous humor. Unigwe is as adept at conveying the cacophony of a Nigerian bus as she is at suggesting the larger historical events that propel her characters. “Chika Unigwe’s ON BLACK SISTERS STREET is a grand and. SEXUALITY AND SUBJECTIVITY IN CHIKA UNIGWE'S ON BLACK SISTERS' STREET Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike Department of English University of Port .
Apr 26, Pages download. Apr 26, Pages. On Black Sisters Street tells the haunting story of four very different women who have left their African homeland for the riches of Europe—and who are thrown together by bad luck and big dreams into a sisterhood that will change their lives. They open their bodies to strangers but their hearts to no one, each focused on earning enough to get herself free, to send money home or save up for her own future. Then, suddenly, a murder shatters the still surface of their lives. Drawn together by tragedy and the loss of one of their own, the women realize that they must choose between their secrets and their safety. On Black Sisters Street marks the U.
Had she? She had just. Surely, surely, she had that right. Still, she wondered: What were they doing now? When would they notice that she was gone? In a house on the Zwartezusterstraat, the women Sisi was thinking of — Ama, Joyce, and Efe — were at that very moment preparing for work, rushing in and out of the bathroom, swelling its walls with their expectations: And more than that, that they would be generous. Where's my [expletive] mascara?
Joyce was at the same time stuffing a denim duffel bag with a deodorant spray, a beach towel, a duster, and her Smiley, so nicknamed by Sisi.
Smiley was a lubricant gel, innocuously packaged in a plastic see-through teddy bear with an orange conical hat and a wide smile; it might have been a child's bottle of glue. She blocked her mother's face, looking aghast at Smiley, her lips rounding to form a name that was not Joyce. Maybe she don' leave already," Efe said, putting an electric toothbrush into a toilet bag. In an inner pocket of the bag was a picture of a boy in a baseball cap. On the back of the photograph were the initials L.
The picture was wrinkled and the gloss had worn off, but when it was first sent to her it would have been easy to see in the shine of the gloss that highlighted a broad forehead that the boy bore a close semblance to her.
The way a son might his mother. She carried this picture everywhere.
They still had a bit of time before they had to leave, but they liked to get ready early. There were things that could not be rushed. Looking good was one. They did not want to turn up at work looking half asleep and with half of their gear forgotten.
Maybe she's gone on one of her walks. Sisi went out alone at least twice a week, refusing company when it was offered. Nobody knew where she went except that she sometimes came back with boxes of chocolate and bags of Japanese fans and baby booties embroidered in lace, fridge magnets and T-shirts with Belgian beer logos printed on them. Joyce was already out of the bathroom. She had hoped Sisi would help her cornrow her hair. In between perm and braids, her hair was a wilderness that would not be subdued.
Neither Ama nor Efe could braid. Drawing from Freud, he gives an example of a child who, even before it is born, has already been hailed as a subject in and by the ideological practices of its parents. This Prophecy operates ideologically, subjecting her parents so completely that Sisi could perceive its presence in their posture, even in the photograph taken on her matriculation day Her parents, as it were, respond as subjects and they keep reminding her of the Prophecy all through her adolescence.
On a denotative level, the Prophecy represents a mere prediction. But on a connotative level, we come to recognise it as an instrument of ideology.
Therefore, the act of telling and reminding Sisi of the Prophecy is a hailing in itself. Sisi recognises herself as the one who is hailed, more so because she is aware that her father often blames his stagnant career as an Admin Clerk on his inability to 5 UJAH: Unizik Journal of Arts and Humanities complete his tertiary education.
Her father was forced to quit schooling for a measly job, in order to help cater for his siblings. It comes as no surprise that Sisi spends much of her teenage-years living within an educational ideological apparatus by studying hard and at the same time thinking that once she is able to acquire a degree from a good university she will naturally land a well- paying job befitting her qualification. It should be pointed out that Sisi has never been short of dreams, as textual evidence shows.
Though her parents offer her a falsified representation of the world which they have imagined, Sisi only recognises her own imaginary relationship to this world. Yet every one of them is subject to the dominant subject in the form of educational ISA. Sisi dismisses his life as a cul-de-sac The operation of ideology on a young person within the household or domestic milieu is remarkably influential.
He notes that children play an important role as subjects in the process of naturalisation of ideology.
They are formed as social subjects in their relationships, first in the context of what Louis Althusser calls the specific familial ideological configuration…and then in schools [educational ideological state apparatus]…. Along this line, an individual can only exist in and through the subject category, since he or she cannot be an agent of a social practice unless such a person assumes the form of a subject.
Thus, interpellation has the function of constituting the individual as subject so that he or she can assume a particular position that is in conformity to the practices of ideology.
In light of this, Sisi takes on the particular subjectivity that prefigures her to act in accordance with the conditions of existence necessary for the reproduction of ideological ritual practice. Before she is willingly trafficked to Europe, she vows to herself that she must escape Her vow finds expression at a hairdressing salon where she meets a loud pimp and his girl while getting her perm retouched.
Make am beautiful. She dey go abroad. Beautify am! It is instructive to mention that this chance meeting ultimately interpellates her into the ideological practice of sexual objectification. In preparation of her new life, Sisi, actually known as Chisom, renames herself in Shona She assumes the identity of a foreigner, not a Nigerian, but a Zimbabwean.
Her desperation for this new life compels her to rename herself again and also fake a new identity as Mary Featherwill, a Mandingo, a Liberian By erasing her identity she accepts the category of the subject, central to ideology.
These acts of impersonation, one way or another, connote a ritual practice — which is crucial for the reproduction of the existing relations of production. The other instance of false consciousness is actualised in the sex scene with a Belgian client where she tries to resist her ideological positioning Here is an excerpt to better emphasise this analogy: This is not me.
This is not me. This is a dream. She tottered behind him, averting her eyes from his buttocks. I am not here.
I am at home, sleeping in my bed. A Lexus sparkled in her head. Think of the money!
Analysing the Gramscian hegemonic concept, Fiske states that contradictions are inherent in material social conditions and these contradictions produce resistances to the domination of ideology Subjected, Sisi begins to interpellate other individuals, thereby furthering the material reproduction of ideology.
A Novel. By Chika Unigwe. Random House Publishing Group Publication date: April download ePub. Our price:. On Black Sisters Street tells the haunting story of four very different women who have left their African homeland for the riches of Europe—and who are thrown together by bad luck and big dreams into a sisterhood that will change their lives.
They open their bodies to strangers but their hearts to no one, each focused on earning enough to get herself free, to send money home or save up for her own future. Then, suddenly, a murder shatters the still surface of their lives.
Drawn together by tragedy and the loss of one of their own, the women realize that they must choose between their secrets and their safety.