Perceptions Of Dying And Death In Selected Literary Works
Jefwa, Judith Jai Jaleha
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This study deals with the manner in which writers of fiction have conceptualised the theme of dying and death, especially in the manner in which characters respond to it. The study captures the ways in which writers of fiction have used creative strategies at their disposal to capture what they perceive are human being‟s responses to such enigmatic phenomena as dying and death. The study is cognisant of the fact that literature is a useful tool for exposing the way humans approach dying and death because writers have the poetic licence to see what is beyond what the ordinary eye can see. Thus writers have the capacity to capture what goes on even in the minds of those that are dying. The study presupposes that characters‟ responses to dying and death are part of a power struggle relationship. Death is depicted as a hegemonic force that people have to contend with thus the responses presented are invariably human being‟s desire to overcome a phenomenon that acts as a powerful force that undermines their well-being. Characters are depicted as grappling with death as a force that brings disorder in life. The study thus examines characters thoughts, words and actions as they engage such a hegemonic force as death in attempts to order the world so that it can operate in a logical and discernible manner. In order to capture these responses the study utilises the analytical tools provided by three theories. The Cultural Theory, as espoused by Michel Foucault, helps unearth the manner in which power is played out when humans have to contend with death. The Freudian psychoanalytical theory unearths the psychological reasons that determine people‟s responses to death and dying. Finally, Formalism examines the techniques used by the authors in their attempts to present the characters responses to death. The study thus ascertains that the different responses by characters indicate their attempts to deal with the challenges that obtain as a result of having to deal with their exit from the world. Individual differences as well as differences in socialisation make the characters experience death from different perspectives. In this way, this study has been able to capture the artistic presentation of how people deal with dying and death.
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