Summary of Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta - OKVIX

Summary of Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta

Summary of Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta

The Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta is a novel about a woman who went through difficulties because she was a female child. She was not valued by the tribe she came from, but she struggled her way to attain secondary education level. She was later married to a man whom she travelled to live with in England and hit a job there. Keep reading to discover more contents on Summary of Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta.

Ada was born in an Igbo family who believes that the male gender is superior to the female gender. When the family was expecting a male child, she was born, and as the first and female child of the family. Later, her mother later gave birth to a child named Boy.

When boy, the male child grew up, he was sent to school to study, but that was not the same for Ada. She wasn’t sent to school because she is a girl, and she will get married in the future to another family. Ada never liked such because she has a strong passion for education.

Ada later got the urge to travel to England because she saw an Igbo man that came back from there, and would like to travel to the place. She didn’t tell anyone because nobody would take her serious. Due to the passion she had for education, she secretly went to a missionary school without informing anyone. The mission school is different from the one her brother attended.

Mr. Kunle his teacher, later convinced Ada and sent her to an institution. It is the same school Ada’s brother is attending. Ada’s father later died, and she was forced to drop out of school to live with her uncle. Hence, she joined a missionary school, where she completed her primary education. She also, took common entrance examination, and was among the top 5 best students.

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Due to her performance, she was offered a scholarship to study in a secondary school. After she was done with her secondary education, she got married to a man called Francis (a student). Because Ada was educated, 500 pounds was paid as her bride price.

Ada later traveled to England with her children to where her husband resides. She got a library work and was happy with that. The library work was able to cover all expenses in the family, including training his husband in the school. Francis got Ada pregnant on the night she came to England.

A white lady was employed by Ada to take care of her children to due to much stress. The white lady wasn’t treating her children right. This led to the reason while Vicky contacted Meningitis and was taken to the hospital. A few weeks later, Vicky recovered.

On the other hand, Ada gave birth to a child after passing through a lot of pains. Her husband didn’t even come to see her at the hospital she gave birth. She felt bad as she sees other men treating their wife right in the hospital. Ada started to regret why she married Francis because he doesn’t care about her anymore.

Francis’s wife, Ada, took a birth control measure (Family planning) and when his husband found out, he beat her because she did that without letting him know. After the issue, Ada later got pregnant again for Francis. She went to an Indian doctor to terminate the pregnancy, but the pill did not work.

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She later gave birth to the child, and after some months she got a work at another library, while Francis quit his job as a clerical post officer because he felt in that Ada was earning enough money to take care of the family. Ada maintained her stand of Francis taking care of himself.

Since there was domestic violence against Ada from her husband, including burning her book ‘The Bride Price’. Francis was taken to court, where he denied everything he is being accused of, including denying being the father of Ada’s children. He also, burnt all evidence. Ada have to take a taxi and leave.

Themes of Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta

The themes of Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta are:

  • The Theme of racism.
  • Class and gender theme
  • Theme of domestic violence and failed marriage.

The theme of racism

When Ada came to England, they lived in a ghetto because that is where most second-class citizens live. They got a house that looks like horror without toilet or bathroom. Also, when Ada’s child got sick, her child was taken to a second-class hospital. That is because of racism.

Theme of class and gender

During Ada’s stay in her hometown, she wasn’t initially allowed to attend school because their tribe don’t value ladies much. Even his younger brother went to school as soon as he grew up. Ada has to forcefully and secretly attended a missionary school where a teacher advised and supported her to continue her education.

Theme of domestic violence and failed marriage

This is an abuse from one person to another in a domestic setting. Ada experienced domestic violence from his husband, which lead to the failed marriage between them. Francis, who is Ada’s husband, is a shameless man, and an abuser.

Characters of Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta

The characters of Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta are Ada, Boy, Mr. Kunle, Francis, Titi, Vicky, Bubu, lawyer Nweze, and Mr. Okpara

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Ada is the first child in her family. She went to a missionary school and her brother is a Boy. Also, she is the husband of Francis.


Boy is the second child of his family. He is the brother of Ada. He was sent to school and supported by his parents because he is a male child.

Mr. Kunle

Mr. Kunle is Ada’s teacher in the missionary school.


Francis is the husband of Ada. He studied Accountancy in the university.


Titi is the child of Mr. and Mrs Francis. She is the sister of Vicky.


Vicky is also, the child of Mr. and Mrs. Francis. He is a sibling to Titi.


Bubu is the third child of Ada, and was given birth to in England.

Lawyer Nweze

Lawyer Nweze is a man who resides in England. He is a lawyer by profession.

Moral lesson of Second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta

Ada was forced by her parents to choose someone to marry. Which she later selected Francis (a student) and got married to him. These, contributed to the domestic abuse and failed marriage between Ada and Francis. Again, Ada wouldn’t have passed through hell if hee parents had supported and valued her.

Despite sending his younger brother to school before Ada, she was the one still contributing tremendously to the growth and welfare of the family.

Racism won’t bring peace and progress. We should learn how to treat everyone equal and right. It doesn’t matter the class the class or level you are. Once you treat people with care and kindness, our society will be better.

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