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Asymmetrical Voices: A Concurrent Reading of Tsitsi Dangarembga’s The Book of Not and Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages. (Concurrences)
2017 (English)In: Concurrent Imaginaries, Postcolonial Worlds: Toward Revised Histories / [ed] Diana Brydon, Peter Forsgren, Gunlög Fur, Brill Academic Publishers, 2017, 227-243 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The chapter is a concurrent reading of two coming-of-age narratives with a view to exploring the effects of the differences in the narrators' positions on their similar life-stories. It focuses two texts from 21st century Zimbabwe, Tsitsi Dangarembga's The Book of Not and Alexandra Fuller's Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. There are many similarities between the texts but also crucial differences in perspective: while the narrators have many points in common, they represent opposing sides in a racialised conflict of interest. Furthermore, The Book of Not is a work of fiction and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight is autobiographical.

Both texts are set in the late 1970's and early 1980's in the area around Umtali/Mutare in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, and both thematise the period of transition from racist Rhodesia to majority-rule Zimbabwe, the war for independence and its impact on the narrators, their families and their schoolmates. Also, both texts are first-person narratives told by teenage girls who are caught up in the process of becoming young women. However, Dangarembga's narrator is a black village girl who has gained a place in a prestigious white school, and Fuller's narrator is a white petty farmer's daughter.

This reading observes that the positions from which the narrators voice  - or refrain from voicing, or are deprived of the possibility to voice - their claims to individuality, to recognition and to social and cultural belonging, are crucially different. Thus, juxtaposing the two texts and their different perspectives draws attention to issues of discursive power and claims to authenticity, attempting to tease out some of the mechanisms that construct certain voices as worth listening to and particular stories as true.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Brill Academic Publishers, 2017. 227-243 p.
Series
Cross/Cultures, ISSN 0924-1426 ; 200
Keyword [en]
Concurrent, voice, similar, different, Zimbabwe, Dangarembga, Fuller
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Comparative literature; Humanities, English literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-65614DOI: 10.1163/9789004347601_012ISBN: 9789004347045 (print)ISBN: 9789004347601 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-65614DiVA: diva2:1112398
Available from: 2017-06-20 Created: 2017-06-20 Last updated: 2017-06-20Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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More languages
Output format
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