African literature can be divided into three distinct categories: precolonial, colonial and postcolonial. Precolonial literature often takes the form of oral narratives that are sometimes accompanied by music and center around the trickster figure. Colonial literature examines the horrors of slavery and the slave trade, revolting against colonialism and drawing inspiration from Africa's past. Postcolonial literature focuses on the clash between indigenous and colonial cultures, expressing hope for Africa's future.Know More
Within these categories is a subset of African women writers who focus on the ordeals that women face in a patriarchal and colonialist country. Their work often contains sub-themes of women finding strength in each other's company when abandoned or dismissed by their husbands and fathers, who are, in turn, subjugated by the English. The narratives depict the struggles of women trying to hold together their families and preserve their cultures, but they often find themselves overruled by men.
As more African literature began to be written and published in European languages, some scholars have criticized its place in the African academic community. Others see the contradiction as a symbol of the eternal conflict between African and English identities. However, some writers argue that Africa cannot return to its past and that it is important to acknowledge and understand how the country has been changed by a foreign presence.Learn more about Literature
Literature is important because it helps readers develop critical thinking and discussion skills, build up new knowledge and experiences, and develop empathy for other people or cultures. Although literature is often de-emphasized in favor of more technical education, proponents argue it is still a useful discipline.Full Answer >
The major themes in "Antigone," the play written by Sophocles in or before 441 B.C., include natural law, pride, gender, blindness vs. sight, civil disobedience, family loyalty, and free will vs. fate. It also broaches the conflict between the individual and the state, as well as the differences between moral and divine law.Full Answer >
The three main branches of literature are prose, poetry and drama. While historically the branches were quite distinct, modern works from the 20th century and beyond increasingly feature combinations of these different forms.Full Answer >
Reading literature critically requires a minimum of two separate readings: one reading for understanding of basic plot, or sequence of events and characters, and a second reading to delve deeper into understanding the meaning of the work. During the first reading, the reader should simply enjoy the work.Full Answer >