Narrative process in the Kiswahili novel: readings of E. Kezilahabi and S.A. Mohamed
Gaita, Joseph Murimi
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This study deals with narrative process in four selected Kiswahili novels, namely: E. Kezilahabi's Rosa Mistika and Gamba La Nyoka; and S. A. Mohamed's Utengano and Dunia Mti Mkavu. The centrality of narrative cannot be ignored for narrative is not just the essence of literature but of life. For, as Toolan (1988) observes, everything we do in life constitutes a narrative. Narrative here is seen as a mode that informs human activity. In modern literature it is the novel that best exemplifies this mode. Studying the narrative process implies examining closely the relationship between the message and its mode of presentation. In so doing, this study has identified three major elements that tally with the basic aspects of narrative, namely: the story, the storyteller and the listener. These are examined in distinct but related chapters. In this regard, this thesis argues that there is a deliberate design and order in the way information is conveyed in the Kiswahili novel. Of specific concern is story time versus narrative time, which at times produces discordances that are not always accidental but deliberate with a view to dramatizing the ideological standpoint of the novelist. In addition, of the thesis argues that Kiswahili narratives are oriented at various standpoints in terms of mediators used in telling or in the point of view that leads to complicity, intrusion, immediacy and reliability of the message presented. The specific question dealt with here is who tells the narrative and what does s/he know about it. Finally, thesis argues that since narratives are based on linguistic symbols, description is indispensable to narration. Consequently, it is observed that numerous descriptive foci result from the conscious manipulation of the language of the literary work for a direct appeal to the reader, who is the overall target of all narrative activity.