The novels of Ayi Kwei Armah: a study in the macrotext of the recit
The last or late part of the nineteenth century witnessed the emergence of modernism, a conscious literary cult which sought to overthrow the cherished beliefs of the ordinary reader. The modernist novel completely alienated itself from veridical reality. It appeared also to be an answer to science’s questioning of the continuous relevance and place of literature in the world of scientific imperatives and advancement. It therefore marked the elevation of literature to a different level where the focus on structures became sacrosanct and a vigorous religious ritual. This resulted in structuralism. The anti-humanism and the alienation from veridical reality led to a vigorous verbal antagonism between the modernists and the traditionalist (modern). This polemics can simply be reduced to the form-content tug-of-war which characterized literary circles in the past. The periodic emergence of this form-content argument has been both beneficial and destructive for Literature. Therefore the need to bridge this gap and to consciously harmonize the form-content struggle in African novels has become imperative, and writers like Ayi Kwei Armah have become the pioneers in this aspiration to make form and content complement each other. Therefore, in this research we sought to prove that Ayi Kwei Armah started his work as a modernist and maintained it throughout his six novels as far as Mood is concerned. His works, from The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born to Osiris Rising, are consciously structured and Genette’S category of Mood can be applied to analyse them just as K. O. O. Armah demonstrated with Ayi Kwei Armah’s works as far as the category of time is concerned, and P. P. Adolinama and John Aning have also done with Ngugi and Achebe’ s works respectively. To achieve the above aim, the theoretical framework of Genette’s Schema of Mood was used to analyse Ayi Kwei Armah’s six novels: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Fragments, Why Are We So Blest, Two Thousand Seasons, The Healers and Osiris Rising. In addition, we examined Armah’s works eclectically in order to demonstrate any modifications in his application of Mood. So we applied basically analysis as our methodology in arriving at our conclusions. In our research, we observed that Ayi Kwei Armah’s works are consciously crafted as far as Mood is concerned. The form of his works was structured to communicate to the reader. Consequently, in Armah’s works form complements the histoire. Therefore we reconmiend that readers can best interpret and enjoy Armah’s works thematically if they are encoded to use the macrotext of the recit to interpret the histoire.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies,Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature, 2001