Discursive representations of social meaning in Ben Okri’s Abiku fiction
Writers adopt different strategies of communicating social meaning. The strategies enable them to represent individual and group identities, ideologies, attitudes, biases, feelings, prejudices and social relations. In Okri’s novels on abiku, the spirit child, namely The Famished Road (1991), Songs of Enchantment (1993) and Infinite Riches (1998), he adopts gossip/rumour and communal/cosmic conversational structure as strategies of communicating the social and political situations of his Nigerian society. The gossip/rumour strategies are narrative forms of supplying additional information the central narrator does not have access to, while the dialogic/conversational structure represents the African communal perspective and the intercourse between the natural and the supernatural.
Keywords: Ben Okri, discursive representation, social meaning, gossip/rumour, dialogue/conversation