Cause and effect: A stylistic analysis of the story in Ngugi's "A Grain of Wheat".
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Analysis of story in narrative fiction poses a major challenge to stylisticians. There are several studies of style in fiction, which are mainly micro-linguistic in nature and focus on certain sections of the novel that is being analysed. But up until today, there are has not been a comprehensive analysis of the story of a full length novel because of the unwieldy form of the novel on the one hand, and, on the other, disagreement amongst scholars about identification of individual units that make up the story and how these units mesh together. Stylistic analysis of story in fiction, therefore, is a contested area of study. Narratologists attempt to describe the deep narrative structure or surface narrative structure of different kinds of narrative forms such as: folk tale, fairy tale, epic, myths, short stories etc. While it is exciting to discover the basic underlying patterns of diverse narratives and identifying the universal structure of narratives from various cultures and climes, the reduction of all narrative to its skeletal form divests the immense variety and incredible complexity of a narrative form, such as a novel. This article is an attempt to develop a methodology for the examination of a composite form of the story of a novel drawing upon insights gained from Stylistics and Narratology. Through this analysis, I hope to prove that it is possible to examine the story of a novel thereby emphasizing textual analysis and empiricism as a rationale for stylistic inquiry. For purposes of illustration, I examine A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’O , Kenya’s foremost novelist and one of Africa’s greatest intellectuals.
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