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Gender and symbol in ''Osiris Rising'' by Ayi Kwei Armah

The disseration aims at analysing the novel "Osiris Rising" by Ayi Kwei Armah, a Ghanaian post-colonial writer, from two main perspectives: the gender-focused analysis of the characters and the symbols they embody in post-colonial West-African society.
In the variegated scenario of West-African Anglophone literature, Osiris Rising constitutes a literary work whose main value is that of presenting the reader, especially the Western one, with a passionate ideological approach to the African post-colonial reality, described from an African author’s viewpoint. The image of Africa that arises from the novel is mainly constructed upon the clear-cut opposition between good and evil forces1 acting in the author’s pan-Africanistic dream to reunify the African continent. Yet, the symbolic value attached to such sharp distinction at times seems to weaken the psychological depth of the characters, as, to put it in Derek Wright’s words, “the main tendency of the characters is to polarise into principles rather than intensify into individuals.” In fact, the reduction of the characters to symbols and one-dimensional figures seems to mainly reverberate through the dialogues between the two protagonists: they, indeed, reveal a fairly low emotional tone, detached from real-life conversations between lovers, their focus always being shifted to ideological issues rather than to practical ones.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
2 Introduction The present work focuses on the analysis of Ayi Kwei Armah’s sixth novel, Osiris Rising: A Novel of Africa Past, Present and Future, published in 1995 by the Senegalese publishing house Per Ankh. The interest for this novel arose mainly from the desire to explore more closely the phenomenon of post-colonial literature in West-African Anglophone countries. The choice of the author fell on Ayi Kwei Armah for his being one of the most celebrated voices of such literary scenario and for his widely acknowledged role as one of the founding fathers of post-colonial African literature. The particular choice of analyzing Osiris Rising originated from its quite recent date of publication, which is supposed to make it a literary product able to provide a closer vision of present-day African reality, if compared to the author’s previous works, written in the two decades after Ghana’s declaration of independence. As far as the comparison with Armah’s previous novels is concerned, the choice of analysing Osiris Rising was also determined by its being one of the author’s least explored works by literary criticism. The analysis of Osiris Rising has been based on the conviction that this novel could be considered a tool through which to get an idea of the perception of the African situation in African literature, half a century after the independence from colonial rule. In chapter 1 I have outlined a brief introduction to the rise of the post-colonial West-African novel in English, presenting its main themes and linguistic choices, referring to the works of most celebrated authors such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Amos Tutuola and Ben Okri. I have also devoted a section of this chapter to an introduction to the author’s biography and the themes mainly explored in his novels, providing a more detailed summary of the plot of Osiris Rising. The central part of the present work has been devoted to the analysis of the main characters of the novel, who have been classified under two different categories: female and male characters. I have opted for such gender-based analysis to highlight and compare the different roles that the author seems to attach to one category or the other. The value of each character has been analysed on the basis of the leading thread that informs the whole novel: the author’s hope for a re-unified Africa, free from those social evils (i.e. corruption and abuse of power), which seem to constitute a legacy that the colonial rule left to the new local dictatorships arisen in the aftermath of the independence.

Laurea liv.I

Facoltà: Lingue e Letterature Straniere Moderne

Autore: Silvia Pannunzio Contatta »

Composta da 60 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 148 click dal 28/02/2012.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.