The Narrative Architecture of The Thirteenth Sun

ዋና ገጽ | የኢትዮጵያ ታሪክና ሥነጽሑፍ የምርምር ሥራዎች /Researches on Ethiopian History and Literature/
+ - Font Size  

The Narrative Architecture of The Thirteenth Sun

Taye Assefa - Institute of Ethiopian Studies

 Among Ethiopian novels, The Thirteenth Sun occupies a unique position because of the manner in which it portrays social decadence. Its distinct quality is most apparent in the way it evokes the images of decay and conveys its themes through the proliferation of motifs and symbols. This paper attempts to identify the prominent types of motifs and symbols and to analyse their relations to the main themes of the novel. 

The author has used plants (cabbages, koso tree), parasites (bed-bugs, fleas, worms), objects (pistol, the cross), the elements (thunderstorm, flood, wildfire), animals (jackals, dogs, mules, horses, vultures,hawks,marabous),diseases (mental and physical), rot(decaying wood, mud, stagnant water,offal),hell scenes (devils and torments), and phrases ("beautiful Ethiopia", "sacrificial sheep", "begging manna") to create the main motifs. The symbols have been constructed using mostly human action (pilgrimage, rape of Woynitu, Fitawrary's bath in filth and blood, offer of the cross to Woynitu, offer of pocket watch to Goytom). Some characters( Woynitu, Fitawrary,Goytom, the peasant) have also been assigned a symbolic role. Some of the motifs (cabbages, parasites, the cross, hell scenes), too, have a symbolic function while others (pistol, jackal) also have a plot-centred anticipatory function. A few motifs such as the mules are multi functional in that they serve as both foreshadowing and satirical devices. A number of the symbols (the cross, sacrificial sheep) are conventional while others (rape of Woynitu, Fitawrary's bath) are quite original and even subversive. 

In spite of its innovative methods, The Thirteenth Sun has a didactic tendency to explicate the political meaning of the portrayal, especially through the narratorial commentaries and mental excursions of the two protagonists,Woynitu and Goytom. Such redundant discourse has the effect of undermining the subtlety of the motifs and symbols.

To read the whole article click here

Taye Assefa - Institute of Ethiopian Studies
ይህን ጽሑፍ ወዳጆችዎ ፌስቡክ ገጽዎ ላይ ለማስነበብ:  
Your Comment /አስተያየት *   Required
ፊደልን ከkeyboard ማመሳሰያ።

መብቱ በህግ የተጠበቀ ነው© 2007 ዓ.ም