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Rationalisation and Intertextuality: An Analysis of the Language of Men’s Reactions to Gender Equality in Zulu Sofola’s <i>The Sweet Trap</i>

E N Ugwu
S N Kpolugbo


It has been observed in Zulu Sofola’s The Sweet Trap that male characters view and speak about the female characters in very discriminating manner with the aim of subjugating women and maintaining their supremacy over them. This paper explores the discursive strategies in terms the linguistic and non – linguistic strategies which men use to maintain their dominance over women in Zulu Sofola’s play. The paper also shows that men explicitly (through verbal and non- verbal actions) and implicitly (through the demands of culture) discriminate against women or suppress gender equality or recognition and even discredit the women through language. The two discursive strategies of maintaining male power and female marginality are rationalization and intertextuality. While rationalisation is a strategy in which men use pure reason instead of experience to dominate women, intertextuality is the use of legitimate events or mechanisms operating in the society to work against women. In rationalisation, men try to vindicate themselves and blame their actions on their forefathers’ age-long practices (tradition). This paper explores the language use in these practices in the above-mentioned text.

Keywords: Rationalisation, Inhibition, Aggression, Justification and Intertextuality