Language, History and Culture in Bessie Head’s "A Question of Power", Toni Morrison’s "Beloved" and Sembéne Ousmane’s "Tribal Marks"

  • I Emmanuel

Abstract

Language, culture and history in a given text are regulated by the episteme of time the author endeavours to recreate. The paper sets out to establish through the theory of New Historicism, that a text is a social document that reflects and responds to the historical situation. It also asserts that the interpretation of a text will be incomplete without its relationship to the various episteme of the discourse, which include the language, culture, and history. Through the interrelationship between language culture and history we have established homosexuality and other forms of perversions in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power; Sethe’s infanticide in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Amoo’s murder of his wife and his scarifying of his daughter in Sembéne Ousmane’s Tribal Marks. On the whole we agree with the New Historicists that the text’s meaning reside in the cultural system composed of the interlocking discourses of the author: social rules and dictates, and the historical situations as evidenced in a text.
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eISSN: 1813-2227