Historical, sociological and philosophical dimensions reflected in the novels of selected african writers

THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines HISTORICAL, SOCIOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSIONS REFLECTED IN THE NOVELS OF SELECTED AFRICAN WRITERS A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the GraduateSchool BatangasStateUniversity BatangasCity In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy in English Language and Literature by NGUYEN THI MINH LOAN (SUMMER) 2015 THAING

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UYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines i TABLE OF CONTENTS Page TITLE PAGE ............................................................................................... APPROVAL SHEET ................................................................................... ABSTRACT ................................................................................................ ACKNOWLEDGMENT ............................................................................... DEDICATION ............................................................................................. TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................... i CHAPTER I: THE PROBLEM ............................................................................... 1 Introduction ........................................................................................ 1 Statement of the Problem .................................................................. 7 Scope, Delimitation and Limitation of the Study ................................ 8 Significance of the Study ................................................................. 10 CHAPTER II: REVIEW OF LITERATURE ......................................................... 14 Conceptual Literature ...................................................................... 14 Literature and Philosophy of Life ..................................................... 14 Significant Works of African Writers ................................................ 23 Literary Techniques ......................................................................... 30 Critical Approaches for Novel Analysis ........................................... 32 Research Literature ......................................................................... 37 THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines ii Synthesis of the Literature Reviewed ............................................. 45 Theoretical Framework ................................................................... 48 Conceptual Framework ................................................................... 54 Definition of Terms .......................................................................... 57 CHAPTER III: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ................................................ 60 Research Design ............................................................................ 60 Treatment of Materials .................................................................... 62 CHAPTER IV: ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION ...................................... 65 CHAPTER V: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION .... 179 Findings .........................................................................................180 Conclusion .....................................................................................189 Recommendations .........................................................................190 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................ 222 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 1 CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM Introduction There is a close link between philosophy and literature. While philosophy supplies ideology and themes for literature, literature, on the other hand, provides vivid illustrations of the meaning and abstract thought of philosophy. Literature is considered as a channel to show the author’s philosophy of life. Indeed, in literature the philosophical theme is conveyed through literary works and is an essential part of their aesthetic value. There is a considerable number of well-known works in the world literature in which philosophical views are put forward, suggested, or play a central role such as Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and The Idiot; Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Proust’s In Search of Lost Time; Mann’s MagicMountain, etc. By studying literary works, readers are introduced central philosophical issues relating with freedom, responsibility, religious belief, personal identity, etc. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 2 Beside reflecting on philosophy, literature also reflects the historical and sociological dimensions of the society. That literature is a reflection of the society has been widely acknowledged. Literature influences the society, and the society is reflected in literature; therefore, there has been a close interaction between them. The readers can explore a variety of historical and socio-political themes in many works of famous writers such as colonialism, post-colonialism, morality, racial identity, oppression, politics, leadership, gender issues, war, etc. According to Diamond (1989), a literary work can provide a more detailed picture of a society in terms of cultural, social, religious, and political dimensions more than any history textbooks and anthropological records do. This is exemplified in the works of many world famous writers. For example, Wordsworth creates wonderful poems to praise humanitarian aspect of the French revolution in the earlier phase, but later his poetry focuses on its bloodiness and violence. Another example is Charles Dickens’ novels whose themes consist of the consequences of industrialization like the sufferings of the poor, hypocrisy of the privileged class, government corruption, and many others. Africa experienced a variety of cultural clashes and political crises from the early colonial days when the Europeans came and conquered this continent. Achebe, a Nigerian writer, wrote that the time and place in THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 3 which he was raised was “a strongly multiethnic, multilingual, multi- religious, somewhat chaotic colonial situation” (Achebe, The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays, 2009, p.39). These words describe Nigeria in particular and other countries in Africa in the period from the end of the 19th century to the 21st century. For the countries in Africa, the experience of colonialism is considered as the one of the most important factors in understanding the present condition of the African continent, the African people and their history. Therefore, a close examination of the phenomenon of colonialism is essential to assess not only the economic and political development in Africa but also the African people’s perception of themselves. African literature has increasingly gained much interest in literary research for the last three decades. Many critics have devoted much energy to identify western influence on modern African literature. However, the concept of influence have been subject to re-evaluation and revision because critics often impose Western norms on analyzing African literary works in terms of themes, techniques of writing, philosophy, etc. While these studies have made insight interpretations of content and meaning of the African works, less is known of the influence THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 4 of the African traditional roots on African literature and the influence of African writers as philosophers on African people’s perception. From the beginning of colonial situation, literature was the sharp weapon of African writers to oppose colonialism and proudly assert the values of the cultures that the colonials had tried to destroy. Fictional works in many African nations has been very much influenced by the cultural and political experiences of the country. Therefore, many of African writers chose to use their works to explore, portray, and expose these social experiences in their different works. As Ojaide states, “there is, culturally speaking, no art for art’s sake in Africa. Every literary work has a social function” (Ojaide, Modern African Literature and Cultural Identity, 1992, p.44). Among African writers, Chinua Achebe, Ayi Kwei Armah and Tsi-tsi Dangarembgaare the pioneers in using the pen as the weapon against colonialism. Chinua Achebe defines his writings as part of a “process of re- storing peoples who had been knocked silent by the trauma of all kinds of dispossession” (Achebe, Home and Exile, 2000, p.79). Achebe takes up the responsibility as an Igbo writer who is to help his people regain belief in itself and dignity that is destroyed by Western colonialism. Ayi Kwei Armah is undoubtedly one of the most excellent writers of the second generation of African writers which comes after Achebe. In THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 5 an autobiographical article, “One Writer's Education” (West Africa, 1985), Armah described himself as not simply a Ghanian and a West African but “ most significantly as an African”. One of the strengths of his writing is his use of African history and myths to emphasize the originality and complexity of African cultures before the incursion of colonialism into the continent. His writings are realistic descriptions of the African continent in such a way that his novels can be seen as a sociological report on the social and politcal situation of Africa. Tsi-tsi Dangarembga is a fabulous African female writer. Her writings transmit political messages regarding female oppression and colonial domination. She earned much praise from literary critics because of her complex depiction of racial and gender struggles in a rural African society. Therefore, the researcher intended to analyze the three novels by Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga respectively: No Longer at Ease (1960), Fragments (1971) and Nervous Conditions (1988) because an exploration of the three chosen writers of the three different African countries (Nigeria, Ghana and Zimbabwe) and of two sexes would reveal a number of common concerns in terms of historical, sociological and philosophical dimensions. The historical basis for this search is that throughout Africa there are close similarities in both traditional cultures THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 6 and contemporary situations. The researcher attempted to make comparisons and drawing parallels among these novels by Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga in oder to generalize the whole Africa. The wisdom embodied in the selected works of these African writers could be one of the motivating factors that could help readers in the world understand about internal and external pressures African people suffered as well as the values they lost in colonial and post- colonial periods. Therefore, the readers may establish their high appreciation of African culture and history. Besides, many scholars have already studied the various themes of No Longer at Ease, Fragments and Nervous Conditions such as classes, cultures, corruption, etc. However, there is not much analysis on the historical, social and philosophical insights of these novels. Also, these African writers’ philosophy of life gleaned from the three novels has not received enough attention from the literary circles. Last but not least, Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s life, works and life philosophy exemplify noble values of a person and a nation, which is worthy of attention. Therefore, as a teacher, the researcher would like to expose her students to literature and culture outside of an Eastern country. She wants her students to gain an appreciation of a foreign culture while also gaining insight into their own culture, seeing THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 7 their own society through a different and objective lense. Moreover, she wants to equip her students with a sense of values to guide and allow them to embrace a good philosophy of life and clarify life goals. With this objective in her mind, the researcher was deeply motivated to explore and undertake an analysis of how historical, sociological, philosophical perspectives reflected in the selected works to bring out the philosophy of life of Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga. Statement of the Problem This study primarily aims to analyze the historical, sociological, philosophical dimensions in the novels of selected African writers. Specifically, the study answered the following questions: 1. What historical events are reflected in the novels of Chinua Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga? 2. How do the novels convey the sociological character of the time as regards: 2.1. religious practices; 2.2. social practices; 2.3. educational practices; and 2.4. political practices? THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 8 3. What literary techniques are utilized to highlight African way of life in terms of: 3.1. Symbolism; 3.2. Flashback; 3.3. Foreshadowing; 3.4. Figures of speech? 4. What literary approaches are prevalent in the treatment of the selected novels? 5. What philosophy of life of the writers may be gleaned from the analyses of the novels? Scope, Delimitation and Limitation of the Study This study analyzed the historical, sociological and philosophical dimensions embodied in Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s selected literary pieces pointing out their philosophy of life. Likewise, this paper tries to present the historical events, sociological character of the time, the literary devices and literary approaches used in unveiling these African writers’ philosophy of life. This study employed the qualitative method of research in analyzing the authors’ philosophy in the representative literary works chosen. Likewise, this analysis made use of the historical, sociological and philosophical approaches as the bases for analysis. In particular, THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 9 the historical and the sociological approaches are supported by the theory of Postcolonialism and Cultural Relativism while Frankl’s Theory on the Meaning of Life was used to investigate Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s life philosophy behind their writing. Other approaches in literary criticism that may be employed in the analysis like the biographical criticism and psychological criticism are not part of this study. This paper also involved content analysis, which is a systematic technique in analyzing message content and message handling. The data analysis in this research centered on data seeking and the extraction of meaning from Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s selected literary works. Much effort was focused on the task of recording data or making notes through concepts and categories; linking and combining abstract concepts; extracting the essence; organizing meaning; writing an understanding; and drawing conclusions. The essential features in the treatment of materials were considered by the researcher in the conduct of this study. The general rules cited by Alkiere (2014) as regards the four standards a piece of literature particularly that of a novel should abide to in order to be considered literary guided in the selection of works under study. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 10 The representative literary works were analyzed: No Longer at Ease by Achebe, Fragments by Armah and Nervous Conditions by Dangarembga. The said selections were chosen because of the correlation between the aforementioned themes, literary devices and approaches which helped in unveiling the authors’ philosophy of life. Typical for African novels, No Longer at Ease, Fragments and Nervous Conditions address the cultural and social changes in African society. They illustrate the effects of the social, economic and political situation on the behavior and mental conditions of the characters. Although these novels have been the subject of much critical study and debates within and outside the literary circles, but enough attention has not been paid to a study of these novels to bring about Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s philosophy of life. Significance of the Study The germaneness of literary analysis as a vital part of a research study is emphasized in terms of its implication to a number of individuals. Therefore, it is vital to spell out how this study is beneficial to academic managers, working professionals, college instructors of literature, students of literature, members of the community, and other researchers. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 11 Academic Managers. This paper will help them include developmental priorities, programs, projects and policies in the educational institutions to ensure that literary appreciation and critiquing may be integrated in the academe. This will also inspire them to spawn activities related to humanizing education through the study of literature in the curricula that will educate the academic community about the study of literature which is about human being: their daily lives as well as their exceptional, towering experiences. Working Professionals. This study will be beneficial for them in the sense that at whatever circumstance they may find themselves their own philosophy of life from their readings of the selected works. These works humanize as they educate them in the art of living. At their maturity these professionals reminisce their past and realize that their readings have broadened and revitalized their life. It has given a deeper meaning to their existence. Likewise, they may be inspired to highly appreciate the folklore and culture in the past and their roles in affirming the dignity of their people. These initiatives may help these working people to embrace a good philosophy of life, clarify life goals, and revitalize working relationships within their workplaces. College Instructors of Literature. This dissertation will be helpful in the instructor’s methodology in teaching literature as an inquiry into THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 12 using the appropriate literary theories and approaches in literary analysis. This will lead to treating literary criticism as a worthwhile exercise that includes, among others, the identification of a meaningful theme and the investigation of devices and approaches to reveal such themes. In addition, this will provide them with opportunities to touch the concept of historical, sociological and philosophical dimensions in selected works in their literature classes and open their students’ mind and hearts to the philosophy of life of the author that may be drawn from them. Students of Literature. This study will give them an extensive and profound outlook in life as regards the historical, sociological, and philosophical dimensions of literature through the lives and experiences of the characters in the selected literary pieces. It will also make them realize that literature may be the writers channel for philosophical human transformation. In addition, this paper will make them treat literature as a work of art distinguished from other texts through content and form, and eventually intensify their appreciation of novels and inspire them to engage in literary analysis as an academic activity. Members of the Community. This paper will make them more mindful of their social responsibility in the community. This will make them understand that some of the belief systems and practices at home THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 13 and the community do not often help in establishing equal and valued roles for young students, and thus should be sidestepped. Other Researchers. Researchers will be benefitted by this study through the analysis and treatment of materials, and through the careful investigation of both theme and form in literary genres. Likewise, this paper will enlighten them on the process of drawing out literary theories and utilizing critical approaches in literary analysis. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 14 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF LITERATURE This chapter presents the review of literature that is critical in the establishment of concepts and theories that would effectively substantiate the study. Conceptual Literature The review of conceptual literature yields four constructs, which may be used in the analysis and interpretation of the works dissected. These constructs include: literature and philosophy of life, significant works of African writers, literary techniques and critical approaches in novel analysis. Literature and Philosophy of Life It is widely acknowledged that literature reflects society and depicts human life. According to Plato, literature imitates life, that is, it represents the world as it is. As an imitation of human action, literature presents a picture of what people think, say and do in the society THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 15 through characters who convey certain messages for different purposes through their words and actions. A literary piece is based on authors’ intention and includes the attitudes, morals and values of the society because no writer can live out of the world around him. Tomeldan, et. al. (1986) also said that literature is a product of life and about life. It offers an experience in which people can participate as they read and test what they read by their own experience. By reading literature, people can get something of value such as an understanding, a new awareness, a feeling of pleasure, etc. In essence, life illuminates literature as much as literature illuminates life. Besides, writers create characters with their words, actions and reactions to convey certain messages for the purpose of education, information and entertainment. It is not possible to find a work of literature without any attitudes, morals and values of the society. Therefore, literature is one of the best media people can use to understand their society and even themselves. There are different forms of literature among which writers can choose one suitable for his needs and intention such as essays, short stories, dramas, or novels. However, in terms of representation of different aspects of the society’s life, novels becomes increasingly popular compared with other forms of literature. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 16 One reason is their expansion of social scope. It means that novels most addressed the domestic and social concerns of different classes in the society, even the middle and working classes. A good illustration is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which consists of nearly six hundred characters of different classes from the aristocracy to the poor. Besides, novels engage the readers’ thought and immerse them in the world of ideas and themes. Indeed, each novel consists of a variety of subjects of social significance such as class, race, politics, economics, etc. In terms of the writer’s choice of materials, the novels may be psychological, historical or social in content. A good example is Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Sinclair’s The Jungle. Other novels are personal or psychological regarding human relationship, conflicts, desires, and fears like Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre or William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. Another explanation for the popularity of novels is the range of the kinds of novels- scientific fiction, adventure, detective, romantic, etc. Hence, writers are free to choose his favourite form to express his intentions and purposes. Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a good example of adventure novels. Furthermore, a novel is long enough for writers to describe fully the world around them and to create a large number of incidents where THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 17 characters can express their personality, a more complicated plot, a more elaborative use of setting and a greater complexity of themes. It is capable of revealing both a broader and deeper view of human nature and human experience. Last but not least, novels can reveal the spirit of the times so subtly that they have potential for shaping the consciousness of hundreds of generations. F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Graham Greene’s The Quiet American are typical illustrations. Hence, novels help readers understand social realities in different periods of time. To do this, a writer should interpret the world and even himself to transfer his ideas to his readers and inspire, guide and challenge them. Novels commonly trace the depth of an individual, a group of people, or a world. Novelists make a work of art and offer both a representation of and a response to reality. For example, the African novels shared a similar theme of reaction to the negative views about the history of Africa and Africans. The writers aim to reconstruct and assert the true cultural identity of the African people and assure them “that their past with all its imperfections was not one long night of savagery from which the Europeans acting on God’s behalf delivered them” (Achebe, The Novelist as Teacher, 1988). Besides, Said has THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 18 deeply explored the role of the novel in the colonial and imperial enterprise of Western colonialism. He argues eloquently that “stories are at the heart of what explorers and novelists say about strange regions of the world, they also become the method colonized people use to assert their own identity and the existenceof their own history” (Said, Culture and Imperialism, 1993, p.xii). This approach appears in the works of African writers such as Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Elechi Amadi, Alan Paton, and Camara Laye. The present study follows the notion that “literature has no autonomy outside reality” and that its analysis aims “to show the literary work as a significant statement with a direct relevance to the African experience” (Irele, The Criticism of Modern African Literature, 1971, p.41). The novel’s capacity to map and reorganize reality has made it the most convenient medium for African writers seeking to rethink their social worlds intransitional and postcolonial times. To sum up, novels are one of the best tools for writers to reflect any changes of the society and the writer’s intentions. Writers like Achebe have shown that the role and function of novels must change to suit the cause of the user. Therefore, the notion that a novel is a reflection of social reality is a highly acknowledged medium in the analysis of the historical, sociological and philosophical perspectives of Achebe, Armah THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 19 and Dangarembga’s novels, No Longer at Ease, Fragments and Nervous Conditions. Philosophy of life may be defined as an overall vision or attitude toward life and the purpose of life. There are some ways of understanding philosophy of life. The first viewpoint by Peck (in Schmidt, 2002), a contemporary psychiatrist, explains that people need a “map” to find their way through life. Maps do not exist naturally; therefore, if people want to have their maps, they have to create their own maps, which requires great effort. The more effort they spend appreciating and perceiving reality, the larger and more accurate their maps will be. Some people stop making it early, so their maps are small and sketchy. Only a small number of people continue making their maps until they die; therefore, their maps are enlarged, refined and redefined. The philosophers affirm that people should revise their maps continually because the world always changes. The second viewpoint is from the ancient philosopher Plato (in Schmidt, 2002). He uses the cave to illustrate his belief that people are trapped by their imperfect, subjective impressions of the world. People need to use their reasoning abilities to escape from this trap and to find a more accurate understanding of themselves and their world. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 20 In the third viewpoint, Keen and Valley-Fox (in Schmidt, 2002) explain that people need a “myth” to explain their lives, which is similar to Peck’s concept of a map which guides...ons” and "the metaphysics of African healing" in “The Healers”, the dominant concern of two novel histories was to divest the ancient godlike kings of their false glory. In Armah's postcolonial fiction - The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Fragmentsand Why Are THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 40 We So Blest?- the theme of tyranny and political corruption was linked to the colonial middle class elite and the ancient kings. Armah achieved this didactic creative purpose by exploiting a variety of symbols, images, scatology and dystopian metaphors. Unlike the heroes in the two histories, Armah's postcolonial protagonists wereso intensely paralysed by unrelieved despair, passivity and self-alienation that they hardly functioned as conventional heroes. Instead of the traditional hero, Armah's protagonists like the Man, Baako, Modin and Solo operated as anti-heroes or unimportantpeople, trapped permanently in limbo. Despite the devitalizingenvironment around them, the postcolonial heroes were committed to using their talents in transforming the society and empowering the oppressed nation. Shen (2000) examined Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, and Anthills of the Savannah to reaffirm African national identity and dignity from another approach. The study adopted the Marxist theoretical perspective in revealing the issue of social class in three of Chinua Achebe’s novels to enable the reader to reappraise Achebe’s novels from a class perspective. The findings of the study showed that social class is such an important issue that it affects the main characters’ fate. Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart and Obi Okonkwo in No THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 41 Longer at Ease are trapped in their own social classes. In Anthills of the Savannah, Chris and Ikem seize initiatives to overcome class borders. In terms of African slavery, Axiotou (2008) explored how Syl Cheney Coker’s The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar (1990), Ama Ata Aidoo’s The Dilemma of a Ghost(1964), Ayi Kwei Armah’s Fragments(1970), and Buchi Emecheta’s The Slave Girl(1979) re-think the history of transatlantic slavery. The findings showed that the texts of these four contemporary West African authors revealedproblems of writing silence and narrating a history which is impossible to fully retrieve. By attending to the violence and silencing related with the history of slavery, as well as the difficulty of writing, and narrating, history from the perspective of silence all the texts perform acts of resistance against the forgetting enacted in and among their communities, and the silencing of colonial modernity, which has turned the history of transatlantic trade into a non-issue. The findings also indicated that although all four authors came from different historical situations, each provided powerful and influential examples of undoing historical silences and absences, not by imposing voices or presences, but by tracing the gaps in the historical representation of slavery. The silent, but not silenced stories of the slave trade that these authors THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 42 narrate in their attempts to speak to the history of slavery bring dis/order to the national and communal milieu. Similarly, Bubenechik (2012) depicted the traumatic condition of the formerly colonised indigenous peoples of Africa and Canada. The study examined the two postcolonial trauma novels, Tomson Highway's Kiss of the Fur Queen (1998) and Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions (1988). They are first-hand record of colonial experience under the control of the British colonists of the second half of the twentieth century. In the study of the novels Nervous Conditions and Kiss of the Fur Queen, the study explored the formation of colonial and postcolonial identities, the nature and impact of colonial trauma and the possibility of resistance on the side of the colonised. The researcher worked towards identifying the differencesbetween indigenous and Western concepts of trauma and identity, and study the challenges of postcolonial literatures. Healso explored the concept of cultural hybridity as presented in the novels and studied the impact of trauma on identity construction. The findings of the study showed the extent of trauma influences and shapes identity, the differences between the antagonistic cultures as well as the development of colonial trauma, which may shed a different light on the Western study of trauma. The study also revealed the natives' means for dealing with the traumas THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 43 brought about by the process of colonisation and the authors' reasons and intentions for writing these novels. In terms of female oppression, Nash (1997) examined three novels by African women for their insightful treatment of education, a key development issue. These novels wereThe Joy of Motherhood by Nigerian writer Buchi Emecheta, Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, and Our Sister Killioy by Ama Ata Aidoo from Ghana. The theoretical framework of the study was guided by contemporary development perspectives, notably the concept of empowerment within Gender and Development literature, which emphasized the importance of seeking women’s voices and listening to their views on issues of concern for themselves and their communities. The findings indicated that reading women’s creative writing is one way of hearing women’s voices. Educational themes that feature in the discussion and analysis of the novels were the constraints that African women face in making decisions about their daughters’ futures; the sexism and alienation that girls encounter in their pursuit of Western schooling; and a critique, in the context of neocolonialism, of the educated African elite who emigrate to developed countries, constituting a “brain drain”. The three novels made a valuable contribution to understanding educational issues in developing countries and THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 44 suggested broad principles upon which future efforts to address people’s needs in this area cound be based. Above all the thesis concluded that fiction is a powerful vehicle of communication. Similarly, Rodgers, R.J (2013) explored the representation of women, identity and education in the works of Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions (1989) and The Book of Not (2006), and Kopano Matlwa, Coconut (2007) and Spilt Milk (2010), through the lens of postcolonial studies. The researcher focused on how African women are represented in the texts at particular socio-historical situations, including implications and interpretations of the literal and cultural shift from the indigenous, rural or segregated environments to Western, urban and racially mixed ones. The study explored the texts in terms of symbolics of food, language, accents, family, academic settings, and the liberating and limiting elements associated with each. The findings showed that the authors presented a complicated reality for the women of the novels. The representation of women in the novels varies, leaving few successful role models for navigating workable identities for the characters as mothers, wives, and autonomous individuals. Besides the novels offer interesting imaginaries for the future of their respective countries and promote education tempered with a respect for home cultures and racial compromise. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 45 Regarding the authors’ writing intention, Jappe (2001) aimed to search the African identity through analyzing Achebe’s three novels Things Fall Apart, A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah. He regarded these novels as Achebe's continuous quest for the identity of Africa. The values Achebe stressed for constructing African identity in these novels are different, based on the need of the society at a particular time. His view of identity is that identity can be invented and is not fixed, and Achebe's writings do provide Africans with a channel to explore their culture which shapes their perception of their nations and themselves. Synthesis of the Literature Reviewed The foregoing literature reviewed yields basic truth that literature can be a writer’s channel for conveying his philosophy of life and the social character of the time, and that literature is a criticism of life as presented at a particular time and in a particular place. Thus, in analyzing the novels the reader shares with the author and the characters their experiences and aspirations, which are reflected in the thematic substance of the literary pieces. The review of literature has provided the present study with some constructs that helped build up the theoretical framework on the THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 46 historical, sociological, philosophical dimensions as reflected in the selected works of Achebe. These constructs were drawn from the theories, concepts, and ideas of literary scholars and critics. From these insights, the researcher drew out four general concepts which, in themselves, were constructs such as literature and philosophy of life, significant works of African writers, literary techniques and critical approaches in novel analysis. The presentation and treatment of subject matter for each literary research tend to manifest the growing concern for the development of African literature. The studies reviewed tend to point out that all of them are related with the present work one way or another. Specifically, the ones that are closely related with the present work are the studies by Brown (2008) and Axiotou (2008)in terms of the themes such as colonial violence and transatlantic slavery. However, these studies adopted other approaches to explore the themes of the novels. For example, Brown used the vocabulary of psychoanalysis to fruitfully read post-independence literature as testimony representing the trauma of colonial occupation while the present study combined historical, sociological and philosophical approaches in analyzing the novels. In contrast, Axiotou employed cross-disciplinary links between post-colonial studies and a THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 47 number of fields such as history, geography, feminism, psychoanalysis, philosophy and political theory. Besides, the choice of the novels was another difference. Axiotou explored Syl Cheney Coker’s The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar (1990), Ama Ata Aidoo’s The Dilemma of a Ghost(1964), Ayi Kwei Armah’s Fragments(1970), and Buchi Emecheta’s The Slave Girl(1979) while Brown examined Ayi Kwei Armah’s Fragments (Ghana, the United States, and France), Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions (Zimbabwe), Nuruddin Farah’s Maps (Somalia), Moses Isegawa’s Abyssinian Chronicles (Uganda and the Netherlands), Meja Mwangi’s Carcase for Hounds (Kenya), Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl (Nigeria and Britain), and in Zoở Wicomb’s David’s Story and J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace (South Africa). Some studies are similar to the current study in some aspects in terms of thematic analysis like studies conducted by Shen (2000) or Ho (1997); however, they used different theories such as Marxism by Shen and Fredric Jameson's concepts of "third world literature" and “national allegory" by Ho. Jappe’s study provided significant contribution in further substantiating this study. This study is helpful for the current study in the way it affirms Achebe’s role as a writer to help Africans search African identity. This oriented the present researcher to explore Achebe, Armah THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 48 and Dangarembga’s philosophy of life gleaned from the analysis of their novels. In the light of differences among the studies reviewed, it can be manifested that this study does not in any way duplicate earlier researches. Although these studies were able to trace the themes of historical, sociological, and philosophical perspectives, not one among the studies focused on all of these perspective in one study to draw out the writer’s philosophy of life. Theoretical Framework This study is anchored on the theories of post-colonialism and cultural relativism as well as on Frankl’s Theory on the Meaning of Life. Firstly, post-colonialism is a literary theory that appeared in the late 19th century at the very first moment of colonial contact and developed throughout the 20th century. Based on Childs and Williams’ definition (An Introduction to Post-colonial Theory, 1997,p.3)), in this study, the word “post-colonialism” refers to the effects of the imperial power from the moment of colonialization. Ashcroft, et. al. (1989) also maintain that though “post-colonial” means “after colonization”, in literature, it implies “all the experience affected by the colonial process from the beginning of the colonization to the present day” (Ashcroft, B et al.The Empire Writes THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 49 Back: Theory and Practice in Post- Colonial Literatures, 1989, p.2).As a theoretical approach, post colonialism asks critics to consider the way colonialist and anti-colonialist messages are presented in literary texts.The focus of the post-colonial critic is to expose the mechanism and the evil effect of colonialism on the colonized. Therefore, the concept of colonialism has political, economic and cultural implications. The story of colonization has been narrated in literary works. That is one reason why literature has a central place in postcolonial studies. Post-colonial literature is the literature of authors from those countries that experience colonization and express ideas to oppose this system. Postcolonial literature aims at revealing the desire for independence. Maleki & Navidi (2011) show that post-colonial literature “is not a literature to show the colonized as the victims, but it shows their confused sense of belonging. They find themselves in cultural, racial and historical hybridity, which make them confused between present and past” (Maleki & Navidi, Foregrounding Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: A Postcolonial Study, 2011, p.11). Post-colonialism is a dominant feature in African and Caribbean literature because writers consider colonialism as the main reason for a variety of traumatic consequences in their own countries. An interesting feature of post-colonial criticism is its attempt, not only to expose the THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 50 destruction of colonialism but to reveal and discuss what the independent nations make of themselves even after the decline of colonialism.Typical literary works areAchebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958),No Longer at Ease (1960), Kincaid’s A Small Place (1988), and Obafemi’s Suicide Syndrome (1986). Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga in their novels repeatedly focused on impact of colonialism and crucial problems as a result of the collision between African continent and European colonialism. The post- colonial approach to these writers’ novels might begin by considering the following question: how their novels, explicitly or implicitly, represent various aspects of colonial oppression. Tentative answers to this question can be discovered by examining No Longer at Ease, Fragments and Nervous Conditions. The second theory that the present study is anchored on is cultural relativism. This theory was a response to the 19th century Western ethnocentrism, which affirms the superiority of the European culture and civilization over that of the native cultures of the colonies in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The concept of cultural relativismwas developed by Franz Boas in the first decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students. In 1917, Locke used the term “cultural relativism” for the first time in his book Culture and Ethnology. Cultural relativism has THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 51 greatly influenced social sciences such as anthropology. In sociological studies, critics sometimes employ this principle in order to avoid cultural bias in research and to avoid evaluating another culture by their own standards of culture. Cultural relativism mentions a general tolerance, respect and understanding towards people’s values, beliefs and practices. Said (1978) in his main work, Orientalism, have used cultural relativism as a tool to highlight the social and cultural effects of colonialism. Therefore, cultural relativism is used as a tool to challenge Western values and to promote an appreciation of cultural diversity. Rachel (1999) distinguishes six different claims of cultural relativism as follows: 1) Different societies have different moral codes; 2) There is no objective standard that can be used to judge one societal code better than another; 3) The moral code of a society has no special status; it is merely one among many; 4) There are no moral truths for all peoples at all times; 5) The moral code of a society determines what is right within that society; and 6) It is advisable for people not to try to judge the conduct of other peoples (Rachel, The Challenges of Cultural RelativismInThe Elements of Moral Philosophy, 1999, p.20-36). Despite some critical arguments towards Rachel’s theory such as no objective truths about morality, no justification for criticizing practicùes THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 52 like slavery, female excision, infanticide, etc., critics will have more open-minded attitude towards other cultures when examining cultural issues. In the present study, cultural relativism was seen as a methodological position that explains the practices and ideas of the African people within their cosmologies in pre-colonial and post-colonial periods. Besides, the researcher should make sure that she did not privilege her own understanding of the world when analyzing historical, sociological and philosophical dimensions of the Igbo life in Achebe’s novels. Therefore, she would have an objective and realistic view of beauty and imperfections of African way of life. Last but not least, the present study was also anchored on Frankl’s theory on the meaning of life. Frankl was one of the most influential scholars with the theory on the meaning of life. He insists that to discover the meaning of existence, not to search for enjoyment, is an individual’s primary concern (Ponsaran, 2007). Frankl’s concept is based on the basis that finding a meaningful life is one’s first most motivational force. His theory consists of the following principles: 1) Life has meaning under all circumstances, even when a man faces the most miserable ones; 2) The main motivation for living is the will to find meaning in life; and 3) A man has freedom to find meaning in what he THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 53 does, and what he experiences, or at least in the stand he takes when he had to suffer an unchangeable circumstance. According to Frankl, a man can discover the meaning in life in three different ways: 1) by creating a work or doing a deed; 2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and 3) by the attitude he takes toward unavoidable suffering. Besides, Frankl makes the most radical claim: in miserable circumstance human beings can fulfil life’s deepest meaning. He opines that there must be meaning to suffering because suffering is such an unavoidable feature of people’s daily existence. Under these extreme circumstances, if people can survive such experience, they are able to find meaning in their lives. His ideas are relevant for the present study because his theory proposes fundamental issues about the human condition: the way of surviving catastrophe, maintaining humanness, or finding meaning despite catastrophe. These issues are similar to Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s issues on African dilemma when facing the challenges of European colonialism. The African people faced European imperialist aggression, military invasion and even assimilation. African people attempted to resistEuropean colonialization and domination in various ways. Using the power of the pen to confront the European THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 54 oppression became a major milestone in the history of African people. These writers, like any other writer, attempted to highlight the experiences of Africans in order to restore the true image of Africa and regain African dignity. Conceptual Framework The study works on the notion that the novel presents life in a historical perspective. Walsh (1972) claims that a novel is historical when events and social conditions must be accurately portrayed compared with the reality. Reyes (1985) believes that a historical novel is a detailed reconstruction of life in a specific time and in a specific place. In Achebe’s novels, a number of incidents are based on facts. They present life in a specific time, which is the Igbo society in pre- colonial and post-colonial periods. Achebe depicts historical incidents in fictive reality. Each of his novels presents different aspects of the Igbo society under the control of British colonialists. Beside historical dimensions, the study also reflects social perspectives of the society and the philosophical perspectives that may be gleaned in the three novels of Achebe. It includes four different aspects: social practices, religious practices, educational practices, and political practices. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 55 Figure 1: Paradigm of the Conceptual Framework Figure 1 shows the conceptual framework that serve as the guide in the development of the study. In more concrete terms, it shows the intertwine of the historical, sociological and philosophical elements of Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s novels that interprets their philosophy of life. * Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s Novels: - No Longer at Ease -Fragments -Nervous Conditions *Literary Techniques Used by Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga *Literary Approaches Used by Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga Philosophy of Life of Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga Gleaned from the Novels Critical Approaches for Literary Analysis  Historical Approach  Sociological Approach - Religious practices - Social practices - Educational Practices - Political Practices  Philosophical Practices THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 56 The first box shows three of Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s novels in English that serve as the primary sources and the bases for analysis in this study: No Longer at Ease, Fragments and Nervous Conditions. These novels are analyzed considering historical, sociological and philosophical dimensions of the Igbo society as well as the literary devices and approaches employed to highlight African lifestyle in these novels. The second box shows three contemporary approaches to literary criticism, namely the historical, sociological and philosophical approaches, which were employed in the study to unveil the author’s philosophy of life. Therefore, the philosophy of life of Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga would be revealed through the analysis of the three novels. The philosophy will serve as a helpful moral guide for the African writers and readers as well. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 57 Definition of Terms The following terms are defined conceptually and operationally for a better understanding and appreciation of concepts as they are used in this study: Content Analysis. The term pertains to the process of delving into certain situations in order to unearth their deeper meanings as presented by the artist using his own technique and stylish pattern (Hosillos, 1984). As used in the study, the term refers to the techniques in analyzing message content and message handling. Educational Practices. Operationally, the term may be defined as habitual or customary actions relating to different aspects of education in the Igbo society. Historical Dimension. In this study, the term relates to the historical conditions and events happening at the time when Chinua Achebe’s fictions are written. Literary Approach. As used within the context of this study, the term may be defined as the tenets or principles that are employed to analyze and understand literary texts. Each literary approach is a particular way of looking at literary texts. In this study, this term refers to historical, sociological and philosophical approaches. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 58 Literary Techniques. Literary techniques refers to the typical structures used by writers in their works to convey his or her message in a simple manner to his or her readers. When employed properly, the different literary devices help readers to appreciate, interpret and analyze a literary work. ( In this study, literary devices refer to Achebe’s use of language and oral tradition in writing his three novels. Moralist. A moralist may be defined as a person who tries to teach other people to behave in the way that he or she considers to be most correct and honest. Within the context of this study, this term refers to Achebe’s philosophy of life as a moralist. Philosophical Dimension. Operationally, the term pertains to philosophical aspects like fatalism, notion of balance and co-existence reflected in the selections. It may be defined as habitual or customary actions illustrating different aspects of a philosophy in the Igbo culture. Philosophy of Life. A philosophy of life is an overall vision of or attitude toward life and the purpose of life. Within the context of this study, the philosophy of life refers to Achebe’s philosophy of life as a moralist and an idealist. Political Practices. Operationally, political practices may be defined as habitual or customary actions illustrating the different aspects of politics in the Igbo culture. THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 59 Post-colonialism. As used within the context of this study, this concept deals with the effects of European power on the Igbo society from the beginning of the colonialization. Religious Practice. The term denotes a form of belief in Supreme Beings by celebrating ritual rites and sometimes is only shown by presenting something as a proof of submission to the God, a form of offerings, and rituals. Selected Works. Within the context of this study, the term refers to the identified novels of Chinua Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga entitled No Longer at Ease, Fragments and Nervous Conditions. Social Practices. According to the UNESCO, the term pertains to the habitual activities that structure the lives of communities and groups and that are shared by and relevant to many of their members. In this study, this term refers to everyday activities in the African society as reflected in the novels of Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga. Sociological Dimension. Operationally, the term may be defined as the different aspects of a society reflected in a fiction, including philosophical, social, religious, educational, and political practices. Themes. In this study, the term relates to historical, sociological, and philosophical perspectives present in the representative literary works of Achebe THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 60 CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY This chapter presents the research methodology in terms of the research design and treatment of the materials studied. Research Design This study employed the qualitative method of research in analyzing Achebe, Armah and Dangarembga’s philosophy of life in the representative literary works chosen. According to Suter (2012), in terms of its complex designs and methods of data analysis, qualitative research is guided by the philosophical assumptio...er and sister, Efua and Araba, organized not for the sake of their belief in the ancient traditions of their ancestors but solely for raising money. Efua and her daughter Araba decide to have it earlier on the 5th day following pay day. - all things have souls and, therefore, are alive. In this context, the dead are not really dead but live all around us and do in fact return either through rebirth or when summoned through libations(pp. 5-6). - In Fragments, the blind grandmother, Naana, views time and life in the terms of a traditional cyclic order: "Death, . . . now I see in it another birth, just as among you [the ancestral spirits] the birth of an infant here is mourned as the traveling of another spirit" (p. 286). Educational practices: - education was neglected during the Nkrumah era - a view Armah conveys in Fragments when he refers to "an unfinished NEW TECHNICAL SCHOOL whose foundations were laid many years ago". THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 204 --Baako tells the production committee that he is interested in investigating this naive assumption of the idea of education: "So . . . this Aggrey kind of attitude is important. The educated really thinking of the people here as some kind of devils in a burning hell, and themselves the happy plucked ones, saved" (p. 147). Political practices: -The view on press freedom in Ghana during the Nkrumah era is conveyed by Asante-Smith to Baako in Fragments when the Director of Ghanavision tells Baako that there are no films left for his screenplays because they are all reserved for Nkrumah and his ministers. Asante-Smith explains the setup to Baako: “You'll see. We have to follow the Head of State and try to get pretty pictures of him and those around him ... We had a lecture before you came. A nation is built through glorifying its big shots. That's our job, anyway” (p.133). -Ocran, Baako's art teacher, explained to Baako, when he complained: "Nothing works in this THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 205 country ... The place is run by this so-called elite of pompous asses trained to do nothing. Nothing works ... It isn't even that things are slow. Nothing works. ..." -The red-tapism is inherent in the Civil Service. The principal secretary tells him: If you come back thinking you can make things work in any smooth, efficient way, you’ll just get a complete waste of time. It is not worth bothering about (p.119). -To Ocran's criticism of the system which obviously does no work, the Principal Secretary defends the rotten setup by arguing that: "We don't have modem systems here. This country doesn't work that way. If you come back thinking you can make things work in any smooth, efficient way, you'll just get a complete waste of your time. It's not work bothering about" (pp. 82-83). - reacting rather furiously to THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 206 having to fawn before the Principal Secretary in order to get Baako a job at Ghanavision because the rotten civil service establishment does no work, Ocran declares that: I hate these stupid Ghanaian big shots. They know things don't work, but they are happy to sit on top the mess all the same. Now he feels he's done us a great favor and that's the way he wants it. You' re expected to be grateful. The machinery doesn't work, except as a special favor for special cases (p.84) --Brempong describes Asante-Smith to Baako with great admiration mixed with contempt as a man with a flair for flattery and bootlicking: Of course ... a person like Asante-Smith, knows people. Besides, he is clever. One of his own drinking friends says he has the sweetest tongue in all Ghana for THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 207 singing his master's praises. It's the truth, And it doesn't matter to him even when the masters change. He can [still] sing sweetly for anybody who de for top (p.46). -The angry Ocran asserts that "The place [Civil Service or rather Ghana] is run by this so-called elite of pompous asses trained to do nothing. Nothing works ... There are dozens of organizations, supposed to take care of this and that ... [In spite of this] you keep getting pushed into using personal contacts" (pp. 81-82). - Janet Scalder of the British Council, for example, has an overwhelming degree of authority over scripts. -In Fragments Akosua Russel's shallow poems also celebrate slave mentality which resurfaces throughout in Armah's corpus. The poem entitled "The Corning of the Brilliant Light of the New Age to Amosema Junction Village" recounts the glory of a European who, aided by his Westernized African wife, brought the magic of European civilization and enlightenment to a primitive THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 208 African village. - The impotence and the absurdity of Africa's intellectuals are evoked by the fact that the doyen of Ghana Arts, Akosua Russell, has neither inborn intellect nor the acquired knowledge to enable her to play the role of patroness of Ghana's Arts and Culture. - Akosua Russel’s sacrifice of the development of a robust indigenous art on the altar of instant wealth for herself is the death of encouragement and development of youthful talents. - Like Akosua Russel, the supposed producers at Ghanavision have become sycophants of the government in power. Rather than produce, they share among themselves television sets meant for the countryside. THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 209 the Middle Passage(p.147) the history of the trans- Atlantic slave trade - A mother/daughter dynamic offers much potential for a reciprocal relationship—something integral to the growth of unhu. In contrast to Jeremiah, Tambu recognizes her mother’s plight and pities her for it: “The thought of my mother working so hard, so alone, always distressed me” (p.10). To alleviate her mother’s burden, Tambu helps with the chores and plans ahead, preparing dinner to spare her mother from additional work. Nervous Conditions by Dagarembga history of Western exploitation and land dispossession (p.18) Social practices: -Babamukuru’s mimicry is all- encompassing: he appropriates English table customs, home dộcor, and fastidious attention to proper Western dress, evidenced in the household’s emphasis on bleaching his white shirts. Like his displays of wealth and piety, the shirts are white masks with which Babamukuru repeatedly attempts to cover his black skin. Besides, Babamukuru’s employment of a black African servant, Anna, who must kneel in the family’s presence and serve its English meals, simultaneously affirms and mimics British colonial - Tambu’s modeling of this unhu- inspired relationship with her mother in Nervous Conditions influences Netsai, who takes pains to help her sister whenever she can. For example, she obtains water from the river so that Tambu need not make the trips herself. Tambu praises Netsai’s initiative and the two exchange smiles. - the close friendship between Tambu and Nyasha promotes the importance of female community. THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 210 domination of the African. -Nyasha is a character who struggles to find her identity as a young Rhodesian female: We shouldn’t have gone’, Nyasha was saying, looking disheartened. ’The parents ought to have packed us off home. They should have, you know. Lots of people did that. Maybe that would have been the best. For them at least, because now they‘re stuck with hybrids for children. (79) - Born in Africa and raised in England, Nyasha is a child caught between two worlds who struggles to find her place when the family returns to Rhodesia. Having spent most of her childhood in England, Nyasha finds it hard to adjust to the mission community and its expectations. She has forgotten most of her Shona language and traditional customs which make her feel like an outsider at family gatherings. - Nyasha has adopted the English way of life and appears as a modern English young girl both in appearance and behaviour. - The group cooking experience enables Tambu to “occupy the corner that that same natural process had carved out for me. It was comfortable to recognize myself as solid, utilitarian me” (40). - Out of this imperfect situation of unending chores, Tambu, Nyasha, and Maiguru’s three helpers carve out some enjoyment. The homestead’s rural location offers many opportunities to commune with nature, and Tambu and the other young women find solace in their time outdoors, which offers a “desilencing of women through landscape and a finding of womanist spaces of refuge in it. - The girls derive happiness from walking to the River Nyamarira even though the purpose of obtaining water is to continue washing and cooking -Mai laments the loss of Nhamo during the Christmas holiday, and Lucia assures Mai, “We do not deny you your grief, but let the anger be over” (143). THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 211 She speaks English fluently, smokes cigarettes and wear short modern dresses “hardly enough of it to cover her thighs” (37). She is severely controlled by her father who demands good school results in order to secure her future as a good missionary wife. - According to Babamukuru it is “important to be good, to listen to what we, your parents tell you to do, to study your books diligently and not let your mind be distracted by other things.” (89). -In fear of the anticipated consequences Tambu’s mother strongly objects to sending Tambu to the mission: You Jeremiah, are you mad? Have you eaten some wild scrub that has gone to your head? I think so, otherwise how could you stand there and tell me to send my child to a place of death, the place where my first child died! Today you are raving! She will not go. Unless you want me to die too. The anxiety will kill me. I will not let her go. (56) -Early in the story, the main protagonist, Tambu, states, “[t]he needs and sensibilities Later, when Mai becomes so devastated regarding Tambu’s acceptance to the Young Ladies’ College of the Sacred Heart that she ceases to eat or feed her baby, Dambudzo, Lucia again takes a firm yet sympathetic approach when comforting her sister. Tambu’s reference to Lucia’s forcing of Mai to take responsibility for her son as a kind of “shock treatment” (188) at first appears negative. Yet, Lucia’s plan to situate Dambudzo on a rock and threaten Mai to let him drown is intended as loving, effective shock therapy and is followed with rejuvenating sun-bathing on a rock and conversations with affable local women who exchange playful banter. THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 212 of the women in [her] family were not considered a priority” (Dangarembga p.12). - The traditional patriarchal structure of the Shona family is also obvious when it comes to food. First, women are required to prepare the food. Second, the best food is reserved for the males, leaving the youngest female members of the family with whatever is left. In addition, if larger groups eat at the homestead, the women and children usually eat in the kitchen, a symbol of women’s restricted space. Tambu reflects, “there was not enough [meat] left in the pot to make a meal for those [] who were not dining [in the house]. As a result the youngest of [them] had only gravy and vegetables to go with [their] sadza” (Dangarembga 41). - The patriarchal structure of the family is also shown, for instance, in privileging boys over girls. Throughout the novel the reader is made aware that male offspring in the family are more important than female offspring (Dangarembga 129, 138, 183). - The unequal treatment is seen in the privileging of boys’ education while trivializing THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 213 girls’ education. - The superiority of men and insignificance of women is mirrored by the narrator when she recounts the great efforts that were made to welcome their uncle’s family. - The female characters are labeled negatively if they do not act in the expected feminine way. Often, their male family members refer to them as 'man' or 'unnatural'. -Dangarembga vividly depicts typical patriarchs in her novel. They are Tambu’s uncle, Babamukuru, is depicted as the ultimate patriarch, while his younger brother Jeremiah, Tambu’s father, displays a patriarchal attitude but lacks rationality and dignity. - Dangarembga does not only provide examples of adult patriarchal characters like Babamukuru and Jeremiah, she also describes two young patriarchal characters like Nhamo, Tambu’s brother. - Chido, Nyasha’s brother, is another young patriarch character who deploys a THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 214 silent and uncritical acceptance of the patriarchal status quo. As a boy, Chido is granted more freedom than his sister. To a much lesser degree than his cousin Nhamo, Chido supports patriarchal notions. - Tambu’s mother, Mainini, is a typical example of a woman that has accepted her role and tasks in patriarchal society. She describes “womanhood [] as a heavy burden”.(p.16). - Dangarembga states a fact that the male is allowed to voice his story whereas the female has no right to voice her story. - This tradition describes the fact that a wife remained a stranger, an outsider to her husband’s kin [] [and was] expected to obey first their fathers, then their husbands. - Another tradition is that most women grew additional vegetables in their own little gardens with the harvest at their disposal. This tradition gave women a source of income which was otherwise unavailable to them. - Christian missionaries also spread the Western type of patriarchy. Women were THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 215 taught to obey and serve their husbands. The duties and responsibilities as Victorian wives introduced new restrictions for women. Religious practices: -Dangarembga depicts how Tambu adopts the views of social hierarchy by Christian missionaries: [The missionaries] were about God’s business here in darkest Africa. They had given up the comforts and security of their own homes to come and lighten our darkness. It was a big sacrifice [.] [] [Their] self-denial and brotherly love did not go unrewarded. We treated them like minor deities. [] Today [] [t]hey are called expatriates [] [b]ut they are deified in the same way as the missionaries were because they are white so that their coming is still an honour. [] I used to feel guilty and unnatural for not being able to love the Whites as I ought. [I]t did not take long for me to learn THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 216 that they were in fact more beautiful and then I was able to love them. (Dangarembga 105- 106) - Babamukuru is a member of the Christian missionary church and has adopted the Christian and Western norms. For example, to prevent traditional Shona polygamy in his family, Babamukuru forces his brother to have a Christian wedding. -When Tambu is offered a scholarship at the nuns convent, Nyasha points out how the colonizers will brainwash her. She remarks that “it would be a marvelous opportunity [] [t]o forget who you were, what you were and why you were that” (Dangarembga 182). Educational practices: - A glimpse of the sort of uncritical education colonial school children are exposed to is given by Tambu in the following passage: [O]ur teacher said he had taught us the entire syllabus so it was up to us to embed what he had taught us THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 217 firmly in our memories. So, instead of classes, we had revision periods. Mr. Sanyati divided us up into groups and sent us outside with the life-cycle of the Anopheles mosquito, the dates of the Boer rebellion, the ordinary, comparative and superlative of irregular adjectives, and expected us to be able to recite them by rote when we came back into the classroom.(176, my emphasis) - When Tambu arrives her new home, she can read “everything from Enid Blyton to the Bronte sisters.” (94) The missionary education’s curriculum was held in consistent accordance with the British syllabus and emphasized religious instruction together with English as the main language. - Nhamo willingly imbibes everything western and he claims that he can no longer speak his mother tongue. He has thus lost the values of his own people, who disregard him because he can no longer communicate with them, but also his “native” identity. - During Tambu’s first visit at the THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 218 homestead after her stay at the mission, she is disgusted and embarrassed by the dirt and feels estranged from her mother. Realizing the change that Tambu undergoes, Mainini claims that Tambu has become ashamed of her. -Nyasha is deeply aware of this process. She voices discontent with the prospect of colonial education when she points to the fact that “there [are] more evils than advantages to be reaped” from going to a Western-style school: It would be a marvelous opportunity, she said sarcastically, to forget. To forget who you were, what you were and why you were that. The process, she said, was called assimilation, and that was what was intended for the precocious few who might prove a nuisance if left to themselves, whereas the others -well really, who cared about the others? So they made a little space into which you were assimilated, an honorary space in which you could THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 219 join them and they could make sure that you behaved yourself. (178) - The differences in the quality of European and African schools are pointed out in Nervous Conditions. “[E]verybody knew that the European schools had better equipment, better teachers, better furniture, better food, better everything” (Dangarembga 182). - Tambu’s struggle for education also mirrors an entire people’s struggle for education. The youth generation strives even more for education and good grades. Tambu perceives education as an opportunity to fly from poverty and patriarchy. Political practices: - During a mental breakdown, in a very fragmented way, Nyasha condemns the entire colonial system and its manipulation: “[My parents] have done it to me. [] It’s not their fault. They did it to them too. You know they did[.] [] To both of them, but especially to him. They put him through it all. But it’s not his fault, he’s good. [] “Why do THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 220 they do it, Tambu, she hissed bitterly, her face contorting with rage to me and to you and to him? [] They’ve taken us away. [] All of us. They’ve deprived you of you, him of him, ourselves of each other. They’ve trapped us. But I won’t be trapped, I’m not a good girl. I won’t be trapped. (Dangarembga 204-205) - The European ộlite undertook to manufacture a native ộlite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of Western culture; they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth. After a short stay in the mother country they were sent home, white-washed. Babamukuru represents a member of this native ộlite. Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1965 (p.93) the THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam BATANGASSTATEUNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines 221 beginning of the liberation war, the guerilla fighters Philosophy of Life of African Writers Gleaned from the Analysis of their Novels Achebe A moralist A teacher Armah A moralist A teacher A philosopher Dagarembga A role model of African women THAINGUYENUNIVERSITY SocialistRepublic of Vietnam 222 BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources Achebe, C.(1960). No Longer at Ease. London. Heinemann Achebe, C.(2000). Home and Exile. Oxford University Press. 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The Routledge Encyclopedia of African LiteratureLondon: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. Haizel, E. A. (1993). Education in Ghana. In The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah. Ed. Kwame Arhin. Trenton: Africa World Press, Inc., Hosillos, L. (1984). Originally as Vengeance in Philipine Literature. Quezon City, Philipines: New Day Publishers. Innes, C.L. (1990). Chinua Achebe. Cambridge: CUP. Irele, A. (1971). The Criticism of Modern African Literature. In Heywood, C.(1971). Perspectives on African Literature, London: Heinemann. Madubuike, I. (1974). Analaysis Achebe’s Ideas on Literature. Black World. Mugo, M.G. (2004). African Orature and Human Rights in Gikuyu, Shona, and Ndebele Zamani Cultures. Harare, Zimbabwe: Sapes Books. Ngugi Wa Thiong’O (1981). Writers in Politics. London: Heinemann Publishers Ltd. Nwala, T.U. (1985). Igbo Philosophy. Lantern Books, Ikeja, Lagos. Ogede, O. (2000). Ayi kwei Armah Radical Iconoclast Pitting Imaginary Worlds Against the Actual. 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