Functions of Literature

A New Reading of Six Francophone African Novels

Authors

  • Sikiru Adeyemi Ogundokun Osun State University, Faculty of Humanities, Osogbo, Nigeria

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/vestnik.13.281-295

Keywords:

literature, social transformation, African novels, French expression, Marxism

Abstract

Literature is an open concept and a creative art which expresses human history, experiences, imagination, observations, predictions and suggestions at a particular time in a given society. Either as fiction or non-fiction, literature can be rendered in both spoken and written words. It is often argued whether literature is for itself or the development of the society that produces it. This study, therefore, interrogates how the selected Francophone African novels, namely Sembène Ousmane’s Les bouts de bois de Dieu, Mariama Bâ’s Une si longue lettre, Ferdinand Oyono’s Le vieux nègre et la médaille, Aminata Sow Fall’s La grève des bàttu, Patrick Ilboudo’s Les vertiges du trône and Fatou Keïta’s Rebelle, depict the function of literature. The novelists are selected because of their inclination towards the social transformation paradigm. The purpose of this paper is to raise people’s awareness and mobilize them towards positive change. Based on close reading, the paper is built around Marxist theory which is interested in the class struggle as demonstrated in a literary text, with a view to deconstructing the existing capitalist tendencies in a given society. The findings reveal that the selected novels are focused on the poor conditions socio-politically, economically, culturally and psychologically that exist both during and after the colonial era. The paper concludes that literature helps readers to cope with the socio-cultural, political, economic, religious and other challenges of their immediate as well as remote environments through the process of self-discovery. As such, positive social change is possible through literature.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

ADEBAYO, Aduke (2010) The nature and function of literature: the comparatist’s perspective. An Inaugural Lecture, University of Ibadan.

AFANASYEV, Viktor G. (1980) Marxist philosophy. Moscow: Progress Publishers.

AKINGBE Niyi/Christopher B. OGUNYEMI/Abosede A. OTEMUYIWA (2011) Interrogating power relations in contemporary Nigeria: protest and social relevance in Festus Iyayi’s Violence. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies (JETERAPS) 2: 301-309.

AKOH, Ameh D. (2012) Feminism or total revolution? Ideological reading of Iyorwuese Hagher’s Mulkin mata. Online International Journal of Arts and Humanities 1, 1-5.

AKOH, Ameh D. (2009) The constraints and prospects of post-military literary engagement in Nigeria. Nebula, 6, 4, 264-272.

AWODIYA, Muyiwa (2016) Managing our culture and securing our future. 169th Inaugural Lecture, University of Benin, Benin City.

AYELERU, Babatunde (2005) The role of African literature in the new partnership for Africa’s development (NEPAD) activities. The African European Inter-play. Adebayo, A. Ed. University of Ibadan, 277-291.

BA, Mariama (1980) Une si longue lettre. Dakar-Abidjan-Lomé: Les Nouvelles Editions Africaines.

BÂ, Mariama (1981) So long a letter (translated by Modupé Bodé-Thomas). Ibadan: Heinemann.

HUGO, Victor (1872) La préface de Cromwell. Paris: Libraire Larouse.

ILBOUDO, Patrick (1990) Les vertiges du trône. Ouagadougou: Editions La Mante.

KEЇTA, Fatou (1998) Rebelle. Abidjan: Présence Africaine.

OGUNBA, Olusegun (1979) Literary art and literary creativity in contemporary Africa. Ile-Ife: University of Ife Press.

OGUNDOKUN, Sikiru A. (2017) Consciousness and Revolution in Selected Francophone African Novels. PhD Thesis, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.

ONYEMELUKWE, Ifeoma (2004) Colonial, feminist and postcolonial discourses: decolonisation and globalisation of African literature. Zaria: Labelle Educational Publishers.

OYONO, Ferdinand (1956). Le vieux nègre et la médaille. Paris: Julliard.

OYONO, Ferdinand (1967) The old man and the medal (translated by John Reed). Harlow: Heinemann.

SANUSI, Ramonu (2009) Language and social reality in Mongo Beti’s Trop de soleil tue l’amour and Branle-bas en noir et blanc. Agora Journal of Foreign Language Studies 3, 114–132.

SANUSI, Ramonu (2011) The more it changes the more it is the same: an exploration of francophone African dictatorship novel. Journal of Humanities, Department of French, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria 1, 9/10, 202–217.

SEMBÈNE, Ousmane (1960) Les bouts de bois de Dieu. Paris: Le Livre Contemporain.

SEMBÈNE, Ousmane (1962) God’s Bits of Wood. (Translated by Francis Price). Harlow: Heinemann.

SEMBÈNE, Ousmane (1996) Guelwaar. Paris: Présence Africaine.

SOW FALL, Aminata (1979) La grève des bàttu. Dakar: Les Nouvelles Éditions Africaines.

SOW FALL, Aminata (1981) The beggars’ strike (translated by Dorothy S. Blair). Lagos: Longman.

SOW FALL, Aminata (1985) L’écriture au féminine. Interview with Françoise Pfaff in Notre Libraire 81, 136-137.

Downloads

Published

27.12.2021

How to Cite

Ogundokun, S. A. (2021). Functions of Literature: A New Reading of Six Francophone African Novels. Journal for Foreign Languages, 13(1), 281–295. https://doi.org/10.4312/vestnik.13.281-295

Issue

Section

Articles