A comparative analysis of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Flora Nwapa's Efuru suggests the importance of romantic love to the self- actualization of the heroines of these novels, whose authors share similar biographies, concerns, and literary positions in the spheres of African American and African literatures respectively. For Hurston, eros paradoxically represents the ultimately unfulfilled possibility for self-realization that finally may be achieved only in and through the self. By contrast, for Nwapa, the focus shifts from the centrality of romantic love to the complex and contradictory place of childbearing in female self-realization. However, finally, self-actualization is achieved with other women in identification with Mammywater, the powerful Igbo lake goddess.

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