Achieving Unity And Coherence Through Contradictions In The Novels Of Achebe, Iyayi And Habila

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ACHIEVING UNITY AND COHERENCE THROUGH CONTRADICTIONS IN THE NOVELS OF ACHEBE, IYAYI AND HABILA
ABSTRACT

This study attempts an exploration of how unity and coherence through contradictions are achieved in Achebe‟s Things Fall Apart, Iyayi‟s Violence and Habila‟s Measuring Time. It is significant to state that the choice of these texts is informed by the need to comprehend how various generations of Nigerian writers have negotiated the contradictions, tensions, distortions and challenges, which have characterized the social, historical and political landscape of Nigeria.

In addition, this study reflects the many dimensions of contradictions, distortions, tensions, injustice and disillusionment prevailing in the selected texts. It touches on character juxtaposition, comparative analysis, differences and interrelationships among structures in the texts. It however achieves unity and coherence by showing the connection of representations in the texts. For instance, Achebe‟sThings Fall Apart projects unity and coherence of the African culture as well as Western religion through distortions and tensions evident in the text.

The writer‟s skilful portrayal of the two cultures, co-existing side by side, is one of such structuralists binarism achieved in this study. Iyayi explores unity and coherence by pointing out the insensitive nature of the government. He encourages the masses to unite in the struggle towards a desirable and functional social order in the country. Habila‟s Measuring Time depicts family disunity and its effect on the individual character.

He achieves unity and coherence in the text, emphasizing on individual contributions towards the unity and development in the community. Structuralism as a reading method is appropriate. This is in relation to its distinctive features of binary oppositions, the primacy of the text and the generation of meaning through differences, etc.

The deployment of these features enhances the understanding of the contradictions, distortions and tensions predominant in the texts. The study therefore establishes that in spite of these contradictions, complexities, disintegrations and distortions the texts display some levels of unity and coherence towards a desirable functional society.

CHAPTER ONE
1.0              Introduction
The  study  attempts  to    explore  and  examine    how  literary  texts     achieve  unity  and
coherence through contradictions in Chinua Achebe‟s Things Fall Apart (1958), Festus Iyayi‟s
Violence (1979), and Helon Habila‟s Measuring Time (2006). The study foregrounds the manner
in which the selected Nigerian novelists appropriated and engaged the social realities, changes,
challenges, sensibilities experienced in Nigeria to recreate and express a new consciousness.
To understand the nature of this new consciousness, the contact of Africa with the Western world is significant in the modern literary imports of Nigeria and Africa at large. The
contact significantly impacted on the formation of literature from the oral to the written form, the
language use from indigenous languages to the English language, the change in thematic values
of cultural encapsulation, the issues of colonialism and post-independence disillusionment, etc.
This contact with the Western world and its implication has drawn critical attention in Oswald
Spengler‟s Decline of the West (1918), Franz Fanon‟s Wretched of the Earth (1968), Walter
Rodney‟s    How     Europe     Underdeveloped      Africa      (1972),     Austine      Amanze     Akpuda‟s
Reconstructing the Canon, Joseph Conrad‟s Heart of Darkness (1988), and many other literary
and  critical  texts.  These  works  essentially  explore  and  articulate  the  many  dimensions  of
colonialism.  One  of  such  relevant  comments  to  this  study  is       credited  to  Simon  Gikandi
(2007:54):
But what is now considered to be the heart of literary scholarship on the continent could not have acquired its current identity or function if the traumatic encounter between Africa and Europe had not taken place. Not only were the founders of modern African literature colonial subjects but colonialism was also to be the most important and enduring theme in their works. From the eighteenth century onwards, the colonial situation shaped what it meant to be an African writer, shaped the language of African writing, and over determined the culture of letters in African…,

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