Feminine Language in Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo’s Last of the Strong Ones


Feminine Language in Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo’s Last of the Strong Ones


Dr. Ima Emmanuel

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, UNIVERSITY OF UYO, UYO


International Journal of social research

Literature generally evolves from a people’s historical and cultural experiences. Though both male and female writers explore their culture for sources of inspirations, and occasionally, for their techniques, the linguistic items employed by both writers to portray their visions are slightly different in the nature of language use as seen in Akachi Ezeigbo’s The Last of the Strong Ones. This paper investigates language use in Ezeigbo’s work using the feminist discourse approach with particular reference to Elaine Showalter’s ‘Gynocriticism’, which is the study of women as writers. This theoretical thrust provides critics with four models concerning the nature of criticism of female writers’ works. The paper affirms that in spite of what patriarchy calls the feminine in language use, which are gender differentiated linguistic behaviours Ezeigbo like most other female writers, employs language for distinctiveness and identity to express genuinely female consciousness in a personal, intimate tone. The preponderance of personal pronoun ‘I’ helps to present things in an involved and relational way; the frequent use of rhetorical questions are signs of conversational control, whereas the recurrent reference to land, nature and culture reaffirms women as great mothers. In all, Ezeigbo endows women with the power of speech as subjects in their use of linguistic features. Since the novel is a diversity of social speech types, language use also predisposes both sexes along linguistic differences. In conclusion the paper submits that language use as reflected in the feminist world-view, deals with women’s development and identity and not ‘otherness’ as patriarchy perceives it. Therefore, through the careful selection of the linguistic items, Ezeigbo extends the limits of the English language to accommodate her perceptions of African cultural world view from the female perspective.


Keywords: gender, the biological model, the linguistic model, the psychoanalytic model and the cultural model

Free Full-text PDF


How to cite this article:
Ima Emmanuel. Feminine Language in Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo’s Last of the Strong Ones. International Journal of Social Research, 2017; 1:5. DOI:10.28933/ijsr-2017-11-2102


References:

1 Abrams, M. H. & Harpham, G. (2009). Glossary of literary terms (9th Ed.). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
2 Acholonu, C. (1995). Motherism: The Afrocentric alternative to feminism. Owerri: Afa Publications.
3 Ba, M. (2004). So long a letter. Nairobi: Heinemann.
4 Bakhtin, M. (1998). Discourse in the novel. In J. Rivkin & M. Ryan (eds.) Literary theory: An anthology. Massachusetts: Blackwell Press, 1998.
5 Biber, C. & Reppen. (1998). Corpus linguistics: Investigating language, structure and use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
6 Bressler, C. (1994). Literary criticism: An introduction to theory and practice. New Jersey: Englewood.
7 Dye, T. (1993). Power and society. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
8 Ekpenyong, Nseobot. (). The modern African woman in the works of Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo and Promise Okekwe. (Unpublished Ph.D Theses).
9 Emecheta, B. (1982). Destination Biafra. London: William Collins Sons & Company.
10 Ezeigbo-Adimora, A. (1996). The last of the strong ones. Lagos: Vista Books.
11 Foucault, M. (2000). The order of things. In J. Rivkie & M. Ryan (eds.) Literary theory: An anthology. (pp 377-383). Massachuttes: Blackwell.
12 Halliday, M. (1994). Introduction to functional grammar (2nd Ed.). London: Arnold Publishers.
13 Homans, M. (1998). Representation production and women’s place in language. In J. Rivkin & M. Ryan. Literary theory: an anthology. (pp.650 -655). Massachusetts: Blackwell Press.
14 Labov, W. (1972). Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
15 Morrison, T. (1998). The bluest eyes. New York: Book-of-the-Month club, Inc.
16 Beloved. (1987). London: Vintage – Random House.
17 Okereke, G. (1997). Language as index of female space in Flora Nwapa’s One is enough”. In E. Eko, J. Ogu and E. Oko (eds.) Flora Nwapa: Critical Perspective. (pp.144-151) Calabar: University of Calabar Press.
18 Ousmane, S. (1994). Tribal marks (ed.) Willfried Feuser. Jazz and Palm Wine. Essex:Longman.
19 Rice, P. & Patricia, W. (1992). Modern literary theory. London: Edward Arnold.
20 Rivkin, J. & Michael, R. (1998). English without shadows: Literature on world scale’. J. Rivkin& M. Ryan. Literary theory: An anthology (851 – 855). Massachusetts: Blackwell Press.
21 Selden, R. & Peter W. (1993). A Reader’s guide to contemporary literary theory (3rd Edn.).Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky.
22 Showalter, Elaine. (1987). Towards a fenubust poetics. In R. Risk (ed.) Debating text, A reading in 20th century literary theory and methods. (330-353). New York: Pantheon Books.
23 Teffo, L. (1999). Moral renewal and African experience(s). In M. W. Makgoba. African Renaissance: The new struggle. Cape Town: Tafelberg Publishers.
24 Umeh, M. (1997). African women in transition in the novels of Buchi Emerchata. In K.Omwuhara (ed.) (pp.191-201) Presence Africane. Ibadan: Heinemann.
25 The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
26 Webster, R. (1991). Studying literary theory: An introduction. London: Edward Arnold.
27 Aries & Johnson etal.http @://www.ir.lit.edu/’argamon/gender.html. Retrieved August 2014.
28 Aries & Johnson Tannen, Holmes etal.http @://www.ir.lit.edu/’aegamon/sex roles.html. Retrieved August 2014.
29 Homans, Priesler, Raysonetal. http @://www.ir.lit.edu/’argamon/gender.html. Retrieved August 2014.