Q:

What are the common themes in African literature?

A:

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.

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.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of African literature?

    A:

    African literature is as diverse as the continent itself, but several characteristics and themes prevail throughout much of the written works emerging from Africa. For instance, there is often a great emphasis on the history, culture and customs of a group of people when telling their stories.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the themes in "Antigone"?

    A:

    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 >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why should we study literature?

    A:

    Students should study literature to gain knowledge of the traditions and cultures associated with the time period in which the literature was produced. In addition, exposure to literature can improve a student's comprehension and reading abilities and help them to identify literary devices, such as the concepts of rhythm and beats within writing.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is tone in literature?

    A:

    Tone is an attitude that the author conveys through writing about an audience or subject. Tone is typically expressed through word choice or through the viewpoint the author has on a particular subject.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore