Since war is a man-made phenomenon that afflicts society with manifest horrors of extreme dimensions, diligent measure and accuracy are required in the narrations and evaluations of the events of war in order to successfully identify and capture the specific roles of actors and participants in war. Regrettably, however, the delineation of women in most war literatures, fictional and non-fictional narratives, theories, and even media documentaries have successfully created an orthodox myth in the portrayal of gender images and roles in war. Within that patriarchal orthodoxy, war has been wrongly perceived and presented as an exclusive endeavour for males and presented as an event in which women are non-existent or sometimes exist as mere appendages. This paper is designed to challenge and subvert this orthodox myth created about women as passive actors in war. This task is accomplished in the study through a deconstructive reading of selected works of fiction and non-fiction that dramatise their respective author’s perception of two different wars, that is, the Nigerian-Biafra-war – which is characterized in some quarters as Africa’s first post-European conquest genocidal war – and the American Civil War – regarded as the first total war in the modern era. This study, produced as interpretative narrative, redefines the image of women in war.
Amara Emilia Chukwudi-Ofoedu is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Communication, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. She holds an M.A in English Studies from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Her areas of research work include the following: Gender studies, African literature, and Communication. She has published several articles in both local and international reputable journals. Her creativity has yielded fruits in the publication of novels, collection of poems and short stories. Chukwudi-Ofoedu is also a social analyst and critic.