The Use of Orature in Ngugi Wa Thiong’os Autobiographical Writings (Published)
The background against which I attempt to situate formal choices in autobiographical writings from Kenya includes the definition, the place of autobiography, fiction and autobiography, history and autobiography, and orality. As will be demonstrated, autobiographical writings from Kenya not only narrate stories of the individual, but also the narrative of the nation. This paper engages three of Ngugi’s autobiographical writings. It demonstrates how formal choices, because of their efficacy in illustrating complex situations, implicate history, politics, and culture to inscribe the self within the narrative of the nation. It investigates Ngugi’s obedience to a perceived stylistic convention, and his manifest appropriation of a unique aesthetic. Ngugi writes his autobiographical writing after establishing himself as a novelist, whose style is of a political and hybrid nature. Ngugi’s use of anecdotes, allegory, the grotesque, detailed descriptions, biblical allusions and references, figurative language and images, flashbacks, journey motif, the bildungsroman and orality, are manifest ways which typify his style of his autobiographical writing. This paper examines Ngugi’s use of orality.
Keywords: Diary, Memoir, Orature, autobiographical