The Female Autobiographical Voice in Independent Kenya
This study sets out to analyse the female autobiographical voice In independent Kenya. The study investigates the body of female autobiographies as it exists In Kenya. focusing on the nature and function of autobiography as they exhibit themselves in the autobiographies under study. It takes a keen look at how the autobiographical voice enables the writers to narrate their stories as they analyse personal and social relationships. The study examines the female autobiographical voice as a tool for women's selfexploration and self-definition. The choice of the narrative voice In female autobiographies enables us to study issues peculiar to women. Available studies indicate that this specialty has not received attention from literary scholars yet it is crucial to the understanding of autobiographical writing in Kenya. The study focuses on autobiographies by Charity Waciuma, Wanjiku Kabira, Esther Owuor, Rasna Warah, Wambui Otieno. Muthoni Likimani. and Wangari Maathai. The study adopts three approaches to literary criticism: theory of autobiography, feminist literary criticism and textual analysis. The theory of autobiography directs our investigation of the autobiographies by focusing on the particulars of the genre; feminist literary criticism focuses on the significance of gender issues, history, politics, and culture as they appear in the autobiographies under study; and textual analysis emphasises on the text and enables us to discuss the narrative voice in the autobiographies. The study derives its conclusions exclusively from the autobiographies under study. The study finds out that the autobiography is the most appropriate form of women's self-expression as it enables them to narrate their stories in their own voices and to highlight social concerns from a domestic and personalised perspective. The autobiographical act becomes a means of empowerment for the Kenyan woman as she seeks her inner self, discovers it. and narrates it for the world to read. The study discovers that some autobiographers employ the autobiographical form to advance agenda other than self-revelation and self-appraisal. In addition. the study shows that the available autobiographies by Kenyan women do not represent the ordinary Kenyan woman. The study: recommends further research in the field of the autobiography in Kenya, focusing on the male autobiography to highlight its concerns and compare it to the female autobiography. In addition. the study recommends a comparative study of the autobiography in Kenya and other regions.
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