Historical consciousness and character formation in Yvonne Owuor’s dust
Karumba, Julia Njeri
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This study investigates the role played by historical consciousness in character formation and identity as presented by Yvonne Owuor in Dust. The desire for an individual to identify with a certain group of people whether politically, ethnically, or culturally drives this study to interrogate whether this desire is motivated by the individual’s historical consciousness. This consciousness is gained from experiences that are narrated by the people who were directly affected by the historical events. The study is an analysis of historical consciousness as a thematic concern and an examination of how this has been achieved. It interrogates the relationship between historical consciousness, character formation and identity. The researcher analyses selected characters in Dust who rely on the history learnt from their parents or other sources to shape their identity. It thus adds knowledge to the existing studies on identity and hybridity since it explores the cause of identity crisis in post-independence African literature. The research has based its argument on postcolonial theory with specific references to ideas advanced by Homi K Bhabha on hybridity. The study is textual in nature; the researcher has employed textual analysis of the primary text. This has involved intensive reading and critical interpretation of the text. The study proves that there is a relationship between characters’ knowledge of their past and their identity.