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Marang: Journal of Language and Literature

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Ritual in Unity Dow’s Far And Beyon

N Kgafela-Mokoka

Abstract


The article explores the role of rituals in Dow’s Far and Beyon. Rituals portrayed in the novel show the characters’ cultural and religious beliefs in God and gods. The article argues that Mara and Pule displease God and gods through sexual immorality, which attracts punishment in the form of Pule’s sickness and death. Performance of rituals in Far and Beyon is an attempt to stop the recurrence of death in Pule’s family. The burial ritual depicts the Christian doctrines, reflected by Dow’s use of biblical scriptures and hymns, while the washing of hands, the washing of the deceased’s clothes and the hair shaving rituals show the character’s cultural beliefs about death. At the heart of the performance of the rituals is the question of the cause of early death. Characters like Mmopi allude to the wrath of God and gods as the source of Mara and Pule’s plight. This reinforces the article’s argument that the violation of sexual mores leads to HIV and AIDS, and to death. The article also examines Dow’s prejudice against rituals and the idea that adherence to cultural and religious sexual mores, and not ritual performance, is the solution to the problem of early deaths in the novel.

Keywords: ritual, transgress, punishment, subvert, death




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