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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Making Up Their Own Minds: Readers' Interpretations and the Difference of View in Ghanaian Popular Narratives
Author:Newell, StephanieISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:popular literature (form)
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161181
Abstract:The role of readers is essential to the discussion of popular narratives in West Africa. Authors acknowledge readership participation in the co-creation of novels, to such an extent that plots themselves may be transformed or extended in response to letters from readers. By taking sides with the character type whose social position most closely resembles their own, readers select specific figures through whom they can apportion praise and blame, through whom they can confirm their positions about men's and women's domestic roles. Readers adopt interpretive positions that depend upon the relevance of fictional types to their storehouse of opinions about marriage partners, 'good-time girls', mothers-in-law, 'sugar-daddies' and prostitutes. A sexual division of interpretation carves the performative space into two spheres: women are reading for feminine models of behaviour, while men are entering the narrative through a masculine point of identification. A reader-centred perspective, then, is vital to complement the 'straight' literary analysis of popular narratives. This argument is illustrated with examples from Ghana, such as the popular fiction written by Asare Konadu, who adopted the pen name K. Bediako, Kwabena Antwi-Boasiako, Awura-Ekuwa Badoe, and Akuosa Gyamfuaa-Fofie. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.