2. But Opokuya wasn’t having any of her self-pity. So she countered rather heavily. “Why is life so hard on the non-professional African woman? Eh? Esi, isn’t life even harder for the poor rural and urban African woman?”
In Chapter 6, shortly after Esi and her best friend Opokuya happen to run into each other in a hotel lobby, Esi tells her friend of her decision to divorce her husband Oko. The two women begin to lament the difficulties of being a working woman. Opokuya’s response is not only an answer to Esi’s question about why life is so difficult for the professional African woman, it is also a response by the author of this novel. Aidoo is aware that all of the characters she has chosen to depict are comfortable, well-educated Africans whose lives are troubled by only petty concerns. Opokuya’s response to Esi also reminds the reader of Aidoo’s preface to the novel in which she writes, “Because surely in our environment there are more important things to write about?” Opokuya’s statement does not discredit the worth of writing the novel’s subject matter, but it does remind the reader that this is not the only story that can and should be told. In addition, Opokuya’s statement reminds her friend that their lot in life remains vastly greater than the majority of African women who continue to live poor lives. For those women, the thought of leaving a husband they no longer loved would be all but impossible. They have no rewarding jobs they could complain of, and certainly no new potential love interests who shower them with gifts.