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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Semiotic Constraints and Perceptions of Change: A Study of the Symbolism and Imagery of Change and Development in African Literature
Author:Mnthali, FelixISNI
Periodical:Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
Development and Technology
About persons:Albert Chinualumogu Achebe (1930-2013)ISNI
Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1938-)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/24486621
Abstract:African creative writing has always focused on the problems and prospects of change. It has gone through a number of phases which parallel changes in political thought and economic concerns: 1) a phase of identity, dominated by the negritude debate; 2) a phase of protest against colonialism; 3) a phase of disillusionment; and 4) a phase of exhortation and satire. Through the use of 'semiotic constants' to denote the recurrence of clusters of symbols, imagery and situations in the works of a writer, the attitudes towards change as reflected in the works of Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong'o are analysed. It is shown that Achebe emphasizes a kind of wise balance between the defence of known and tried values and the reception of a new age, whereas Ngugi, whose central concept is 'land', warns against perpetuating colonialism through the alienation of land. Ref., sum. in French.