Narration in Swahili narrative poetry: an analysis of Utenzi wa Rasi'Lghuli
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This research discusses, using narrative theory, narrative aspects in Utenzi wa Rasi,'IGhuli, a Swahili classical poem composed by Mgeni bin Faqihi. The study focuses on three narrative aspects; narrative levels and voices, narrative time, and characterization. Chapter one of this study is the background. In this chapter, information on the dating and composition of this poem is stated. It has been stated that the concern of this study is to analyse the basic narrative constituents of Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli. The three objectives identifying the various narrative strategies, the role played by the narrative strategies in structuring this poem as well as the impact of the poetic nature of this text on the narrative strategies employed - are stated. The three hypotheses that guide this research that Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli employs key narrative strategies associated with prose, that the narrative strategies employed in the poem are an important structural component, and that the poetic nature of the text impacts on the narrative strategies used are outlined. In this section we have also shown that research on this poem has not been carried out nor have literary studies been preoccupied with research in the field of narration at both the level of topic and methodology. The chapter also places the scope - an analysis of narrative aspects in Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli - and specifies that narrative time, narrative levels and voices, and characterization are the only narrative aspects to be analysed using narrative theory. Narrative theory or narratology is concerned with how narratives are structured. The tenets of narrative theory relevant to this study have been discussed. This study uses purposive sampling in selecting the text of analysis. Although it is mainly a library based research, key respondents have been interviewed. In this chapter, the relevant literature has also been reviewed. Chapter two deals with the thematic and formal aspects in Utenzi wa Rasi 'lGhuli. The themes of religion, revenge, deceit, brutality, betrayal, oppression and intolerance, as well as war have been discussed. These themes are interlinked. Regarding the formal aspects, this study addresses the textual structure of Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli, the prosodic conventions employed and why they are used, language use, narrative voice, characters, setting, and oral tendencies. This analysis serves to provide an overview of what the poem is by discussing its themes and form. Chapter three discusses narrative time in Utenzi wa Rasi 'lGhuli. The three aspects of time, that is; order, duration and frequency, are discussed. Under order, types of anachronies as well as their reach and extent are analyzed. Under duration, ellipsis, summary and scene are discussed. With regard to frequency, the use of singulative narration, repetitive narration and iterative narration in the text have been discussed. The fourth chapter is concerned with narrative levels and voices. Here, the temporal relations between story and text are analyzed. Ulterior narration, anterior narration, simultaneous narration and intercalated narration are the subject of analysis. Narrative levels such as first, second and third degree narratives as well as their functions are discussed. This chapter also tackles metalepsis or narrative transitions under narrative levels. On narrative voices, the narrating voices in Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli are discussed. The level of narrator perceptibility and the functions of the narrator are also addressed. Finally, the chapter deals with types ofnarratees in Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli . In chapter five, characterization in Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli is the subject of analysis. Modes of character presentation and types of character action are discussed. Indicators of character traits are also a part of this chapter. Finally, chapter six is the conclusion of the study. The research concludes that the ordering of events in Utenzi wa Rasi 'IGhuli is not linear, that there is variance in narrative rhythm, and that the poem widely employs narrative repetition. It also posits that there are several narrative levels and voices in the poem with several narrating agents. On characterization, the conclusion is that the poem exhibits several textual indicators and that ideological stand points influence a character trait ascribed to a figure.
University of Nairobi, Kenya