Irony and Vision in Selected Works of Ayi Kwei Armah
Generally speaking, literature is used as an instrument for social change. A writer dialogues with his material world and puts in writing the outcome of this dialogue which usually serves as a mirror to the people and the society. The aim is to set standards that can engender meaningful changes in the society. The use of a medley of literary techniques such as irony unfolds the vision of life or society delineated by the writer in his work of art. Adopting the definitions of situational irony by Ephraim Chukwu, Xiang Li and Jay Braiman as the framework, this paper investigates Armah’s manipulation of the ironic mode to convey his vision of African womanhood. This will be done through the study of the attitude of the female characters in their engagement with some patriarchal mores such as marriage in Two Thousand Seasons, Fragments and The Healers. The paper argues that Armah wears a mask in his delineation of African womanhood. He seems to delineate the phenomenon of social change from the standpoint of compromise. His inability to completely alienate himself from the patriarchal social order which accounts for the subordination of the African woman informs his vision. The paper therefore concludes that Armah’s vision of African womanhood is ambivalent.
Key Words: irony, situational irony, vision, patriarchy, African womanhood and ambivalence