Cultures, Realities, Difference — An Analysis of Bird Myths in Vozes Anoitecidas and Cada Homem É Uma Raça By Mia Couto

  • M Chipara

Abstract

This paper analyses myths associated with birds as they are presented in two collections of short stories by Mozambican writer Mia Couto, Vozes Anoitecidas and Cada Homem é uma Raça. This is a writer with whom many readers living outside the Lusophone world may not be familiar, despite the fact that he is well known internationally. The analysis represents a departure from the tendency amongst researchers to focus on the writer’s language and linguistic innovation, which are the hallmark of his writing. It hopes to give Portuguese-speaking and non-Portuguese speaking readers alike some insight into the writer’s treatment of socio-cultural issues, an aspect of his works that has not been treated in sufficient depth. The paper is divided into three parts. The first provides a brief biography of the writer and situates him within the context of Mozambican literature. The second gives an overview of the historical, social, political and economic context within which the stories to be analysed are set. The third part analyses six stories in which bird myths are featured and considers the significance of these myths as they are used by Mia Couto. The analysis of these bird myths provides a valuable insight into an essential aspect of indigenous Mozambican culture. It also offers the writer an opportunity to comment on beliefs and attitudes that might hinder efforts to construct a ‘national’ Mozambican culture and identity that reflect a respect of diversity and difference in terms of gender, race, and religion

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eISSN: 0379-0622