A STYLISTIC ANALYSIS OF WOLE SOYINKA’S THE BEATIFICATION OF AREA BOY AND A PLAY OF GIANTS

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ABSTRACT

Wole Soyinka has been rated as a man of commendable style. The parlance, “The man and the style” has become axiomatic in his literary writings. Soyinka has attained full relevance in the philosophy of his art and style. Cursory readers accuse him of being metaphysical and difficult because they approach literature without the basic linguistic orientation in stylistics. However, what has won him accolades, distinction and, of course, the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature has been his rich description, elaborate scenes and fascinating characters which we shall exemplify in this study using The Beatification of Area Boy and A Play of Giants. Style is the artful expression of ideas whereas stylistics is the bridge between the ideas and how stylisticians analyse literary texts to pin down the ideas of the creative writer. They achieve this through “analyzable elements” which are tools of stylistic analysis. Modern experts summarise them under what they describe as the 3Rs – stylistic analysis should be rigorous, replicable and retrievable. Others describe them as “Objective facts” where we handle issues like foregrounding, deviation, norm and such other devices such as contextual conditioning, collocational and category rule violations, coupling, syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations etc which are mostly linguistic and non-linguistic features. In doing this, Wole Soyinka in his super-state style and solid plots has contributed to the growth of the English language. This is what Penelope Gilliatt, a European critic means by writers adding new dimensions to the language of their adoption. He applauds Soyinka as having “repaid a similar debt to English through his works and style.” This stylistic dexterity makes Soyinka a writer of distinction in Africa and indeed, the world. The aim of this project therefore, is to analyze the aesthetics of Soyinka’s style in creative writing through the two texts.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       What is Stylistics?
1.2       Notions and Approaches to Stylistics
1.3       Historical Origin of Stylistics
1.4       Background to the Study
1.5       Scope of the Study
1.6       Statement of the Problem
1.7       Purpose of the Study
1.8       Research Questions

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Misconceptions about the Current ‘Health’ of Stylistics
2.2       Contemporary Trends and Major Concepts in Stylistics
2.3       Stylistics and Point of View
2.4       Stylistics and Literary Language
2.5       Style and Individuality
2.6       Soyinka, Style and Idiolect
2.7       Soyinka and “Incomprehensibility”
2.8       Adejare, Soyinka and Critics
2.9       Soyinka’s Contribution to the Growth of English Language

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

CHAPTER FOUR: TEXTUAL ANALYSIS
4.1       A Play Of Giants
4.2 The Language Of The Play
4.3       Linguistic Features
4.3.1    Grammar, Diction and Personality Traits
4.4       Non-Linguistic Features
4.4.1    Paralinguistic Affective Devices
4.4.2    Graphological Features
4.5       The Structure Of The Play
4.6       Themes
4.7       The Beatification Of Area Boy
4.8       The Linguistic Features
4.8.1    Nigerian English Situation
4.8.2    Standard Nigerian English
4.8.3    Coinages
4.9       Non - Linguistic Features
4.9.1    Imagery
4.9.2    Paralinguistic Affective Devices
4.9.3    Humour in The Language of The Beatification Of Area Boy

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Works Cited



CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 What is stylistics?
Stylistics is a derivative of the word “style.” Style owes its meaning to a Latin root ‘stylus’ which means ‘stick.’ Originally, style had nothing to do with linguistics and literary criticism. It was an instrument, a special kind of a stick, also called ‘reed’ which was used to write. The word later metamorphosed first into a “way of doing things.” Allwell Onukaogu and Ezechi Onyerionwu define style as “the manner of dressing, talking, walking, eating etc.” In literature and literary criticism, they see style as “everything the writer does to convey the intended message effectively and at the same time create the level of beauty required of good art.” According to Abrams (191) style also involves utilization of “other formal features” such as surprise, honour, violence, flashback, foreshadowing, manner of manipulation of dialogue, use of irony etc. Nwachukwu – Agbada (32) adds kinds of stylistic deployment to include “portrayal of characters, setting, narrative points of view, events and actions… powers of observation.”

According to Onukaogu and Onyerionwu, (45-6) it is one thing to have a story to tell but another to know how to tell it. The story, according to them, is the “matter” (what) while the style is the “manner” (how). That is why the sole aim of stylistics is what a writer does with language and the interpretations elicited by the stylisticians from the ‘finished product’ of the writer.
Other several attempts have been made to define style and stylistics. Oluwole Adejare (1) says that style and stylistics are synonyms being that “the main difference between them is in the usage of the terms.” Style is favoured by the critics while stylistics is the register of linguists. That is why in an attempt to define stylistics, this research came by earlier attempts by psychologists, rhetoricians, philosophers and others. For instance, the psychologist defined stylistics as “a form of behavior,” the rhetorician said it is “the speaker,” the critic saw it as “individuality,” the philosopher understood it to be “the implicit speaker” while the linguist defined it as “formal structures in function.”

Correct as these definitions are, experts in the field of linguistic stylistics have attempted other broader definitions of stylistics. For instance, Roger Fowler (19) sees stylistics as “that which marks out one writer or speaker from another.” Koffi Yankson (iii) says it is “an understanding of literary language use, how a creative artist patterns language at all levels of linguistic organization – phonetic, semantic, syntactic – to his unique vision of life”. Also, David Crystal (460) defines it as “the features of situationally distinctive use of language, which tries to establish principles capable of accounting for a particular choices made by individuals and social groups in their use of language” while Paul Simpson (2) foregrounds stylistics as “A method of textual interpretation in which primacy of place in assigned to language.” More recently, Ayo Ogunsiyi et al (13) defined stylistics as the “techniques of explication” which allows us to “define objectively” what an author has done, (linguistic and non-linguistic) in his language use. Stylistics is therefore, a particular writer’s use of language and what makes him different and unique from other language users/ writers. This is what George-Louis de Buffon unveiled about language and style decades ago when he described style as “the man himself.”


1.2 Notions and Approaches to Stylistics
The domain for the study of style is stylistics. Scholars believe that the discipline is to define the specific characteristics of literary words. These are the scientific formulae to locate style. Ayeomoni cited by Ogunsiyi (24) states “Like any scientific discipline, the linguistic study of texts (Stylistics) is precise and definite as it employs objective and verifiable methods of analysis and interpretation of texts.”
Chatman holds the notion that stylistics is the form in which a literary work is executed or the context which it expresses. Therefore, a poem of fourteen lines is known as a sonnet which....


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