Literary Analysis Paper on Aidoo’s Changes (1991)


Coming up with an interesting research question is important in order to formulate a strong thesis. Think about some research/issue questions in the novel. Some examples of issue/research questions are as follows:

Examples of the Paper Topic (Please feel free to combine these questions as you like and come up with a clear thesis).

In what sense does Aidoo’s novel Changes convey the idea of changes in Ghanaian society? What has changed, and what has not changed in postcolonial Ghanaian society? Despite that some Ghanaian women have received modern western-education, the older women are shocked to realize “how little had changed for their daughters — school and all!” (107). What has not changed for women in modern Ghanaian society? What obstacles do educated female characters, Esi, Opokuya, Fusena, face in Ghanaian society? What constrains the lives of educated women in modern Ghanaian society? What does Aidoo try to convey through the title, Changes?

2. What oppresses women in Ghanaian society? What restricts Esi in her marriage with Oko? What oppresses Opokuya in her marriage with Kubi? What silences Fusena’s voice in her marriage with Ali? Are Esi, Opokuya, and Fusena trapped by the institution of marriage and/or by their husbands, and/or by patriarchal culture in Ghanaian society? Why does Esi decide to remain in her unhappy polygamous marriage with Ali, and what does her decision signify? Does Esi manage to navigate her life path within her unhappy polygamous marriage, or does she find no alternative to marriage/polygamy in Ghanaian society? What does Esi’s dilemma symbolize or signify in the novel?

3. Is Changes a feminist text? Does the novel show any concerns or issues about women in Ghanaian society? Do Esi, Opokuya and Fusena (Ghanaian women) have a choice in marriage and their life? Why do they feel trapped? Does marriage as an institution oppress women in Ghanaian society? (*The ideas in question #3 can be combined with questions 2 and 3 above.)

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About the length of each body paragraph in the final paper

*Since this is a longer literary analysis paper, please expand each body paragraph by adding more textual examples and your analysis.

The structure of body paragraphs (Choose either option 1 or Option 2)

Option 1. Each body paragraph can be about a page (about 23 lines, three long body paragraphs).

Option 2. You can have two short paragraphs per point (12-15 lines per paragraph). Then, the introduction, 6 body paragraphs, and the conclusion (a total of 8 paragraphs). It is up to you how you structure body paragraphs. Be sure to be consistent in the structure and the length of your body paragraphs (in other words, you should not make two paragraphs for Point 1 and one paragraph for Points 2 and 3).

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Writing instruction

Please put a title of your paper that reflects your thesis. Italicize the novel title – It is the MLA style.
Your thesis should be clear and specific, and it should be put in the introduction. *Note: Do not list three female characters as your thesis. Your thesis should be your analytical points based on your analysis of the novel, and you should use characters as textual examples to prove your points in body paragraphs.
Make sure that each paragraph begins with a topic/summary sentence that refers to one of the main points of your thesis. In other words, you should not begin the paragraph with “When. . . .” Your paper should not be a plot summary.
Please try to avoid using “You” or “we” in the analysis paper.
Use a signal phrase when you introduce a quotation. (i.e. Esi says, “. . . ” (89) and put the page number of the quote in parentheses. Please do not put p. or pg within the parentheses.
Please cite at least two or three textual examples (direct quotations that prove and support your analytical points) in each body paragraph to support your thesis, and add your detailed analysis after quotations.
Limit quotations to a maximum of 3 lines and use an ellipsis (….) for any omitted parts. Pick the most important and relevant passages for quotations.
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Examples of the Thesis and a Topic Sentence:

(Thesis example) Although Aidoo shows some changes in modern Ghanaian society, the novel highlights the dilemmas and obstacles many educated women face in Ghanaian society, because of (point 1) male-centered view of marriage in patriarchal culture, (point 2) _____________, and (point 3)_________________.

Example of a topic sentence that refers to point 1 (in the second paragraph) Aidoo highlights the issue of marriage as a major challenge to professional women in Ghanaian society due to its dominant patriarchal culture. (Integration of secondary literary sources) As Aidoo writes in her essay, “To Be a Woman,” marriage in Ghanaian society is viewed as “. . . .” (#).

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*Please list the sources in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

Works Cited

Aidoo, Ama Ata. Changes: A Love Story. Feminist Press, 1991.

– – – . “Ghana: To Be a Woman.” Sisterhoood Is Global, ed. Robin Morgan.

Anchor Doubleday, 1985, pp. 258-65.

Allan, Tuzyline Jita. “Afterword.” Changes: A Love Story. Ama Ata Aidoo. The

Feminist Press, 1991, pp. 171-96.

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