Representations of Chronotopic Cycles and Consciousness in Selected Novels of Amos Tutuola, Ben Okri, Alain Mabanckou and Mia Couto
Wachira, Ibrahim Gichingiri
MetadataShow full item record
The study investigates how the artistic relationships of time and space in the selected African novels are used to create the awareness of an African chronotope. The scope of the study is an examination on the selected novels of Ben Okri, Alain Mabanckou, Amos Tutuola and Mia Couto. The findings of the study reveal that the resemblance in the selected African novels is their dialogic problem-solution and question-answer structure. The authors innovatively use the riddle-narrative to address themselves to the representations of time and space in the African chronotope. In Tutuola’s The Palm-Wine Drinkard, the eponymous narrator poses the dialogic problem as an alcoholic foible which propels him to make an almost-impossible journey to the Deads’ Town where his dead palm-wine tapster now resides. The dead tapster offers him a magic egg as the resolution to the problem but soon the egg breaks creating a cyclic journey as the narrator often returns to the Deads’ Town for another magic egg. In Okri’s The Famished Road, Azaro, an abiku, who is a spirit-child, poses the dialogic problem as a cycle journey of birth and death that revolves around an imagined postcolonial African world and a mysterious world of pure dreams. In Mabanckou’s Broken Glass and Memoirs of a Porcupine, the narrator(s) poses the dialogic problem as a commissioned manuscript(s) in which an African narrator is appointed to act as a double in the imagined African world. Finally, in Okri’s The Age of Magic and Couto’s The Last Flight of the Flamingo, the narrator(s) poses the dialogic problem as a journey to the idea of home. Due to their riddle-like structures, the novels have been easily fitted out into the imagined riddling session(s) through which the study analyzes the representations of chronotopic cycles and consciousness. The study employs a conceptual framework built on Akíntúndé Akínyẹmí’s idea of the dialogic problem-solution or question-answer that characterizes the riddle-narrative in the Yorùbá oral tradition and Kimani Njogu’s idea of dialogic problem-solution in the Gicaandi, an African poetic riddle-like dialogue. The study engages qualitative research methodology since the phenomenon being investigated is textual efficacy rather than quantifying of materiality. The study proposes the riddle’s dialogic problem-solution model as an efficacious protocol for reading the representations of time and space in the selected novels of Okri, Mabanckou, Tutuola and Couto, in particular, and the African literary imagination, in general.