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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Narrative proverbs in the African novel
Author:Obiechina, EmmanuelISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Nigeria
folk tales (form)
About person:Albert Chinualumogu Achebe (1930-2013)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3820257
Abstract:Narrative proverbs are autonomous stories that appear in different genres and narrative registers within different structural linguistic plans and are embedded inside larger, more inclusive narratives. Because narrative proverbs in novels from Africa cut across gender, genres, ideologies, regions and generations, it is legitimate to assume that their use is an essential feature of the poetics of the African novel, a feature which derives from the interplay of creative principles of oral and literary traditions. Chinua Achebe's 'Things fall apart' (1958) is the best example of the use of narrative proverbs to express the distinctive quality of African fiction. In this novel there are nine embedded narratives, of which seven are folktales and mythic stories, one a pseudo-history, and one an anecdote. This article describes these narratives and shows that they constitute a network of metaphors and images which enrich the setting and narrative texture of the novel as well as sharpen characterization, deepen thematic discourse, and clarify vision and the novel's overall meaning. Bibliogr., notes, ref.