A LINGUISTIC STYLISTIC ANALYSIS OF CHUKWUEMEKA IKE’S NOVELS


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A LINGUISTIC STYLISTIC ANALYSIS OF CHUKWUEMEKA IKE’S NOVELS

ABSTRACT:                    

This work is a linguistic stylistic study of Chukwuemeka Ike’s novels. It involves a rigorous analysis and synthesis that examine how a special configuration of language has been used in the realization of a particular subject matter, quantifying all the linguistic means that coalesced to achieve a special aesthetic purpose. These linguistic means as applied here to Ike’s novels include how, through a network of lexical selection (diction), the various tones in the texts are revealed; how the stylistically significant phrasal and clausal typology, sentence structures and punctuation patterns have combined to produce the aesthetics of the novels under study. The linguistic means also extend to paragraph structure and other linguo-literary schemes Ike used for the internal ordering of the message structure in each of the novels. In undertaking this research, we have relied on primary and secondary sources. An intensive research into related published works and internet material helped to provide adequate theoretical framework, which paved the way for the application of linguistic standards to the novels. Ike’s lexical selection delivers the message of the novels in spite of the presence of native words, some idiosyncratic coinages and his flair for neologistic style. His clausal nesting, even when it appears heavy, does not blur comprehension; it is woven to match the prevailing situations in the stories. Truncated sentence patterns signal fast movement of scenes. Thus, Chukwuemeka Ike has established himself as a prolific writer with great aptitude for presenting the socio-cultural and political themes of his novels with amazing flexibility and linguistic dexterity.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE - - - - - - i

DECLARATION   - - - - - - - ii

CERTIFICATION - - - - - - - iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS - - - - - - iv

DEDICATION - - - - - - - vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS - - - - - - vii

ABSTRACT - - - - - - - xi

CHAPTER ONE:           BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

INTRODUCTION ------1

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM   ----4

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY----5

METHODOLOGY-----6

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY----8

CHAPTER TWO:           LITERATURE REVIEW

INTRODUCTION ------9

STYLE: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ----9

Rhetoric and the Evolution of Stylistics   ---11

STYLE VERSUS STYLISTICS----19

The Reception Theory and Affective Stylistics--20

2.3 THE CONCERN OF LINGUISTIC STYLISTICS - - 22

2.4 FORMS OF CRITICISM: STRUCTURALISM, POST-STRUCTURALISM, DECONSTRUCTION - - 33

2.5 DEFINING STYLE - - - - - - 41

2.6 THEORIES OF STYLE - - - - - 43

2.7 CHOICE OF MODELS - - - - - 47

CHAPTER THREE:          THE USE OF DICTION IN THE NOVELS TOADS FOR SUPPER - - - - - 51

3.1.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 51

Diction in Toads for Supper----52

The Use of Pidgin English in Toads for Supper--57

THE BOTTLED LEOPARD----65

3.2.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 65

3.2.2 Diction in The Bottled Leopard   - - - - 67

THE NAKED GODS-----71

3.3.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 71

3.3.2 Diction in The Naked Gods - - - - 74

3.4 THE POTTER’S WHEEL - - - - - 84

3.4.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 84

3.4.2 Diction in The Potter’s Wheel - - - - 87

3.5 SUNSET AT DAWN - - - - - 102

3.5.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 102

3.5.2 Diction in Sunset at Dawn - - - - 105

3.6 THE CHICKEN CHASERS - - - - - 128

3.6.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 128

Diction in The Chicken Chasers   ----131

Peer-group Slang in The Chicken Chasers--142

3.7 EXPO ’77 - - - - - - 146

3.7.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 146

Diction in Expo ’77-----149

The Use of Pidgin English in Expo ’77---157

3.8 OUR CHILDREN ARE COMING! - - - - 159

3.8.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 159

3.8.2 Diction in Our Children are Coming! - - - 162

3.9 THE SEARCH - - - - - - 179

3.9.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 179

3.9.2 Diction in The Search - - - - - 182

3.10 CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE - - - - 187

3.10.1 Synopsis - - - - - - 187

3.10.2 Lexical Foregrounding in Conspiracy of Silence - - 190

CHAPTER FOUR:          SENTENCE AND PUNCTUATION PATTERN/FUNCTIONS; PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE AND

ITS EFFECT ON THE NOVELS

SENTENCE PATTERN IN The Bottled Leopard--197

SENTENCE PATTERN IN The Naked Gods ---204

The Use of Punctuation Marks in The Naked Gods-215

SENTENCE PATTERN IN The Potter’s Wheel--218

SENTENCE PATTERN IN Sunset at Dawn ---234

SENTENCE PATTERN, PUNCTUATION, PHRASAL AND CLAUSAL TYPOLOGY IN The Chicken Chasers-248

SENTENCE AND PUNCTUATION PATTERN/FUNCTIONS IN Our Children are Coming! --257

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE AND ITS EFFECT ON THE NOVELS 269

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE IN Toads for Supper-271

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE IN The Bottled Leopard-281

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE IN The Potter’s Wheel --284

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE IN The Search ---294

CHAPTER FIVE:          LINGUO – LITERARY FEATURES IN THE TEXTS

5.1 HUMOUR - - - - - - 304

5.2 IDIOMS AND PROVERBS - - - - - 314

5.3 AMERICANISM - - - - - - 318

5.4 RHETORICAL QUESTIONS AND REPETITION AND THEIR DRAMATIC EFFECTS - - - 320

5.5 THE USE OF ‘YOU’ - - - - - 327

5.6 ECHOISM IN The Potter’s Wheel - - - - 332

5.7 ONOMASTICS IN The Potter’s Wheel - - - 335

5.8 FORMS OF PROPAGANDA IN Sunset at Dawn - - 341

THE USE OF SYMBOLS IN Sunset at Dawn--360

THE USE OF PROVERBS IN Sunset at Dawn--366

THE USE OF DIALOGUE AND DREAMS IN The Search --370

AYO’S DREAM, THE DĒNOUEMENT AND SUSPENSE IN Conspiracy of Silence---381

CHAPTER SIX:          SUMMARY, FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO KNOWLEDGE

6.1 SUMMARY - - - - - - 391

6.2 FINDINGS - - - - - - 399

6.3 CONCLUSIONS - - - - - - 400

6.4 RECOMMENDATIONS - - - - - 400

6.5 CONTRIBUTIONS TO KNOWLEDGE - - - 402

WORKS CITED   - - - - - - 403

CHAPTER ONE

 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

INTRODUCTION

Stylistics, which has variously been regarded as an eclectic and relatively new concept, in fact, has its origin in traditional rhetoric. Scholars such as Richard Bradford and Graham Hough have linked the 20th Century stylistics with the art of rhetoric as obtained in ancient Greece. In those ancient times, the Greeks recognized the informative, cohesive and persuasive qualities of a good speech in public speaking. The skills of this ‘oral forensic craft of rhetoric’, with the discovery of writing in the 5th Century B.C., began to be taught and learnt as a practical discipline. The ancient forensic orators developed the techniques known as figures of speech, which included schemes and tropes. These were employed in the structuring and elaboration of an argument. They were also used to move the emotion. The Renaissance period in Europe (14th Century – 16th Century) when there was a great revival of learning in art and literature influenced by Greek and Latin, saw the study of these figures under the heading of Elocutio. Elocutio was technically one of the five divisions of rhetoric. What can be regarded as modern stylistics can be seen as a development from this main branch of rhetoric. Its interest lies in the relations between form and content, concentrating on the characteristic features of expression. One of the attempts to fuse modern linguistic insights with traditional rhetorical figures was by Geoffrey Leech (1969) in what he termed descriptive rhetoric. In the 19th Century, linguistics as a science invaded the field of style such that any discussion in the area of style was regarded as a discussion in linguistics. This is because any use of language in a literary work operates within the confines of the ‘scientific rules’ of the language. The credit for this development goes to Ferdinand de Saussure. At his demise, his student, Charles Bally – the expressive stylistician – became the acclaimed father of modern stylistics.

The concept of linguistic stylistics has to do with a stylistic study that relies heavily on the ‘scientific rules’ of language in its analysis. Such rules will embrace the lexical, grammatical, figures of speech, context and cohesion categories. Literary stylistics differs from linguistic stylistics in that the latter abstracts and describes the elements of language used in conveying a certain subject matter whereas the former dwells heavily on external correlates (history, philosophy, source of inspiration, etc) to explain a text, with occasional leap into the elements of language used.

Literary stylistics and linguistic stylistics have different emphases and different methods of operation. The former operates on values and aesthetics while the latter presents a scientific analysis, working with such tools as grammatical, syntactic and phonological components of the language. With the application of linguistic standards to literary works, the literary critic felt ‘threatened’ and some like Bateson stoutly ‘fought’ to resist the ‘encroachment’.

With this linguistic invasion of the field of literature, came a ‘war of words’ among scholars – those who identified with linguistic stylistics and those who think that literary stylistics alone can do the job of explication of a literary text. When Winifred Nowottny, in the 1960s, advised that the prudent analysis of a work (poetry for instance) is that which begins with ‘what’s there’, she was only lending credence to an academic debate staged by I.A. Richards in the 1920s. Wimsatt and Beardsley, who were extreme defendants of subjecting works of art to linguistic frames, developed I.A. Richards’ propositions. Richards’ treatise was criticized for its basic contradictions concerning affectism, while Beardsley and Wimsatt were flawed because of classification of genetic materials. However, the point was already made: any objective examination of a literary work has to be by a thorough linguistic analysis devoid of the reader’s responses because such responses are variable, irresponsible, undiscoverable, and demonstrably erroneous. A literary giant such as Bateson , however, fumed at what seemed a linguistic invasion of their field. In some quarters, the literary critics regarded linguists as ‘a generation of vipers’, and Bateson himself swore never to have anything to do with a linguist in his family. People like Roger Fowler and Rene Wellek certainly see the importance of subjecting a work of art to appropriate linguistic frames, but they caution that exclusively linguistic stylistics or exclusively literary stylistics would be going to the extreme; each needs the support of the other in the common goal of explication of literary works. (See the introductory part of R. Fowler.)

In spite of these initial conflicts, linguistic stylistics has come to stay. It is a term coined in 1968 by Donald Freeman, apparently to put to rest the verbal feud between literary critics and linguists (Freeman1990:120). Scholars have done works aimed at guiding the linguistic stylistic student on the procedure of linguistic analysis. Geoffrey Leech and Michael Short have provided a checklist arranged in four categories – the lexical, grammatical, figures of speech, context and cohesion. Crystal and Davy have also outlined the methodology of describing the linguistic features of a text. In a more recent study, M.N. Azuike gives a systematic guide on how to analyse a work of art both from the standpoint of the linguistic stylistician and that of the literary stylistician.

Chukwuemeka Ike’s fiction is, in this thesis, subjected to such linguistic frames as diction, phrasal, clausal and sentence patterns, paragraph structure, with a view to exposing the stylistic effects of these in conveying the message in each of the novels.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Firstly, there exist innumerable literary assessments by scholars, especially the literary critics, on the creative works by African writers. The volumes of African Literature Today (ALT) series and other critical works that are available at present attest to this. Renowned creative writers in Africa have received some level of attention by critics. Nevertheless, as if there is some conspiracy, a prolific creative writer like Chukwuemeka Ike, with seventeen books to his credit, has scarcely been given due attention. At the student level, as noted by Ugbabe (2001), only eleven essays by NCE and B.A degree students in various institutions all over Nigeria have been written on this writer. None of these has dwelt on a linguistic stylistic study of Ike’s works. More remarkably, none has been at the thesis level. The linguistic stylistic study available is Igboanusi’s PhD thesis (1995) which looks at Igbo English in John Munonye, Chukwuemeka Ike and Nkem Nwankwo. Yet Ike is a man whose beautifully complex sentence types and structures, appropriate diction and intricate but fine paragraph architecture convey his message in each of his novels. Secondly, students interested in researching into the field of linguistic stylistics need a coherent and current work in the field to update their knowledge. Both problems coalesce to inform the desire to work on the title of this thesis: A Linguistic Stylistic Analysis of Chukwuemeka Ike’s Novels.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to conduct a linguistic stylistic analysis of Chukwuemeka Ike’s novels. This we have specifically done by examining the following texts:

i. Toads for Supper

ii. The Naked Gods

iii. The Potter’s Wheel

iv. Sunset at Dawn

v. The Chicken Chasers

vi. Expo ‘77

vii. The Bottled Leopard

viii. Our Children are Coming!

ix. The Search

x. Conspiracy of Silence

The study also examined the aesthetic features, those extra-linguistic -

linguo-literary – features prevalent in the novels.

At present, there are ten standard novels, a collection of short stories, a travelogue and five non-fiction books to the credit of Chukwuemeka Ike. If there is a directory for successful writers in this part of the world and Ike’s name is missing from it, the directory is incomplete. Igboanusi, in his unpublished University of Ibadan thesis (1995), recognizes the importance of lexical innovation in some of the writings of Chukwuemeka Ike, John Munonye and Nkem Nwankwo. He refers to the works he studied as ‘Igbo English novels’. The study merely scratched the surface, and thus cannot be seen as an indepth linguistic stylistic analysis of Chukwuemeka Ike’s novels. In spite of Ike’s literary output, and besides the recent collection of critical writings edited by Kanchana Ugbabe (2001), not much again is heard of this literary giant in the world of criticism. And out of the eighteen articles in the Ugbabe collection, only Macpherson Azuike’s and (slightly) Victor Aire’s articles are actually on the language and style of Ike’s The Bottled Leopard and Sunset at Dawn respectively. Specifically, Azuike’s article succinctly captures the diction and stock phrases that constitute the beauty of The Bottled Leopard. Victor Aire’s article discusses the lexico-syntactic characteristics of Sunset at Dawn, the stylistic effect of translations of dialogues naturally done in the vernacular. Other articles in the Ugbabe collection concentrate on literary analysis. These reasons, then, underscore the importance of a linguistic stylistic study of the ten novels by Chukwuemeka Ike for posterity to see that this man is worthy of being studied.

This research also hopes to act as a reference point for students interested in researching into linguistic stylistics.

METHODOLOGY

This thesis relied heavily on an intensive and extensive research into related published works. The aim of this is to provide adequate theoretical framework for the present study. The methodology derives from a framework that is classifiable as structural. This is not in the very strict sense of Bloomfieldian or Post-Bloomfieldian structuralism. It is thus classifiable as structural because this thesis sees the text as a harmonious (not discordant) network of linguistic schemes

⦁ linguistic elements – that coalesce to realize a particular work of art. This is in line with John Lyons’ observation on structuralism ‘… that the units which we identify, or postulate as theoretical constructs, in analyzing the sentence of a particular language (sounds, words, meanings, etc) derive both their essence and their existence from their relationships with other units in the language- system….’(230). The framework paved the way for the application of linguistic standards to the novels.

Analysis of the novels was done systematically, isolating and discussing the style markers. This stage of the work combined linguistic discrimination and literary discrimination in the analysis, with greater percentage of the analysis on the former. The study provided adequate confirmation of whatever point that was made with adequate references to the texts. Any antecedent occurrences of the style markers were isolated and analysed. Each of the novels was subjected to the

various linguistic frames as contained in the organization of this work. For example, lexical selection as a frame was examined throughout the novels; the same thing was done at the levels of phrasal and clausal typology, sentence and punctuation patterns, etc. Where any of the frames did not feature significantly in the realization of the message, such a frame was skipped for that particular novel. All that were discovered from our literary discrimination were pooled together as Linguo-Literary features that constitute Chapter Five of this thesis.

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study is limited to ten novels by Chukwuemeka Ike. For two obvious reasons, the research did not consider the other writings because they are non- fiction; secondly, the research is not on General Stylistics – which analyses non- literary variety of language or registers. The other writings not considered are University Development in Africa, How to Become a Published Writer, Creating a Conducive Environment for Book Publishing and Meeting the Book Needs of the Rural Family. The Accra Riviera and To my Husband from Iowa will not be considered for the reasons that the former is an anthology of short stories, while the latter has been adjudged a travelogue.

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