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Title:The narratee of two of Ayi Kwei Armah's novels: a use of narratology
Author:Lorentzon, LeifISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Ghana
About person:Ayi Kwei Armah (1939-)ISNI
Abstract:When critics and readers argue that the first three novels by Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana, 1939) were written in a modernistic Western style, while his last two use an African mode, they chiefly refer to his change of narrative strategy. It is predominantly in terms of narrative form, next to a change of style, that one can talk of a progressive Africanization of his prose. This paper narratively compares Armah's first novel, 'The beautiful ones are not yet born' (1968) with his fifth 'The healers' (1978). By an analysis of narratee signals, such as the use of 'we', and rhetorical questions it examines how the novels differ in their respective narratees - the encoded or postulated reader in the text. These portraits of the narratees in the two novels are good indications of a movement in narrative strategy in Armah's prose. If it is not towards Africanness, at least it moves away from a Western modernistic mode towards traditional African storytelling, and thus a larger African reading audience. Bibliogr., ref.