In both Breath, Eyes, Memory and second class Citizen, women's bodies are central to understanding the ways in which power operates on women in general. Why do bodies become the focal point of such an understanding? And specifically, what is it about women's bodies that makes them a site of power struggles?

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Women, throughout time, not just in Haiti in the 1980’s or Nigeria in the mid-1940’s as depicted in the two novels, Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwidge Dantcat, and Second Class Citizen, by Buchi Emecheta, have struggled with men wanting to exert power and control over women’s bodies. Central to this power struggle is the fundamental difference between a male and female body – which is twofold. First, men are unable to create a baby. This gives women huge power that they possess from the moment they reach maturation and are capable of creating a baby. Second, it is impossible to know when a man has performed sexual acts by examination of his physical body. The same cannot be said of women. Women, structurally, contain a hymen that when broken reveals they have been “violated.” As we see in Breath, Eyes, Memory, when Sophia, after having endured her mother “testing” her hymen repeatedly (typically, mothers would to put their fingers inside their daughters), penetrates it herself with a spice pestle, that violation does not have to be the result of a sexual act. For her mother Martine, and for her daughter Sophia, the results of this personal invasion are the same....
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