Technique of narration and its role in the communication of meaning in three novels of Nuruddin Forah
Kesero, Charles Tunai
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This study is an examination of various modes of narration and their impact on meaning as employed in Nuruddin Farah's three selected novels namely: Sardines (1981), Maps (1986) and Gifts (1992). It argues that the three novels represent phases of Farah's novelistic career in which certain social and political perspectives have influenced narrative technique in his novels. The study assumes that an analysis of the relationship between these perspectives and their corresponding forms of narrative technique would reveal Farah's progress towards maturity in matching vision and narration. The critical analyses of the three novels reveals how Farah's concern with linking patriarchy and political oppression calls for a narrative in which even the positive protagonists are probed by the author working through a narrator who frequently takes the narrative from the dominant character and reveals various ironies against them. The analysis shows that the author uses a combination of many narratives voices and narrators to present themes and ideas, to reveal a particular social vision and to shape a certain understanding of characters. In the three novels omniscience in narration has been put to a test and found wanting. For instance Maps stands out distinctly as suing three narratives voices that take turns to tell the story. The narrative voice seems to interrogate on another persistently as they grapple with the theme of identity in the novel. Maps shows similar social and political concerns with the other novels but the author's interest in exposing the ideological basis of the Somali nation necessitates the narrative forms different from those of Sardines and Gifts. In Sardines it is shown how the story opens up to incorporate many characters' points of view. This challenge to a dominant perspective is done so as to present the various sides of family patriarchy and state oppression. The position is such that all sides are important if oppression is to be understood and defeated. Dealing with the issue of gift giving and receiving at the domestic and international levels, Gifts presents a love affair of the protagonists as a gift and in a way as paralleling the gifts at the international level. In the juxtaposition, extraneous modes of narration such as chapter summaries and newspaper excerpts have been employed in order to communicate themes. This thesis is a statement on the use of narrative rhetorical mechanisms in the art of fiction. Such mechanisms include interior monologue and the use of the pronoun "You" to invoke some audience within the text thus giving the narrative a conversational element. By adopting a theory of the narrative we have shown that Nuruddin Farah is a rhetorician who, through his narrators, employs persuasive tools to communicate theme and vision in each of the three novels studied. This study is a new contribution to the use of the theory of narratology and to the analytical understanding of narration in Farah's fictional works.