The tragic mode in selected Kenyan written short stories
Njiru, Henry Muriithi
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This study is an investigation into the nature of tragic art in selected short stories of both the pioneer and contemporary Kenyan writers. It is predicted on the fact that modern tragic art is a concern of all literary genres - the artistic attempts to show what assails humankind in ways that cause social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical degeneration. Such decay arises from evil. To examine the content and form of tragedy in this genre, the study is informed by three theoretical constructs, namely Tragic Realism, New Historicism and Stylistic Criticism. This is a qualitative research involving textual analysis of tragic art in the selected stories. The study uses purposive sampling method. Data from both primary text and secondary text is analyzed by generating categories, themes and patterns of tragedy in the stories. This study has five chapters. Chapter One forms the introduction while Chapter Two explores the context of tragic themes. It is argued that mis-governance and moral decay at all levels form this context. Characterization is examined is examined in Chapter Three that shows that tragedy permeates both individual and communal life as characters struggle against many destructive forces. The tragic characters experience great misery, apathy, stagnation and vulnerability. Chapter Four delves into the literary tools used to portray tragedy. Chapter Five forms the conclusion. It outlines the major similarities and differences in the thematic concerns, characterization and literary devices in the selected stories. This chapter further outlines recommendations for further research on the subject under study - tragic art. On the whole, tragedy is shown to emanate from both complex intrinsic and extrinsic factors present in any society.