LITERARY DEVICES IN AMMA DARKO’S FACELESS TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE: Introduction 1.1 Life and Works of the Authors - - - - - 1.2Scope of Study- - - - - - - - Purpose of Study- - - - - - - - 1.4 Methodology- - - - - - - - 1.5 Theoretical Background - - - - - - 1.6 Review of Criticism - - - - - 1.7 Thesis Statement - - - - - CHAPTERTWO: Characters/Characterization - - - CHAPTER THREE: Setting - - - - CHAPTERFOUR: Satire - - - - - CHAPTER FIVE: Conclusion- - - - - - - - Works Cited - - - - - - - CHAPTER ONE Introduction Life and Works of Author Amma Darko is born in 1956 to Mr. and Mrs. Darko who hailed form Aburi, an Eastern region of Ghana. She was born in Koforidua but she was raised in Accra. Darko schooled at Kumasi Metropolitan City. She studied Industrial Design. Upon her completion of a diploma programme in 1980, she made effort to study in the USA but she could not embark on the journey. She worked for the center of Technological counselling at the University of Kumasi for a year. Between 1981 and 1987, she lived in Germany where she fully developed and harnessed her writing potentials. She later worked as a tax expert but she later retired to fully start her writing career. While in Germany, she wrote many works in German and she later translated them into English. Darko is a novelist who has many published works to her credit. The following are novels published by her:Beyond the Horizon (1991), Faceless (Die Gesichtslosen) (2003), Not Without Flowers (2007), The Housemaid, “Stray Heart’ (Verirrtes Herz) (2000), Spinnweben (“Cobwebs”) 1996, Between Two Worlds (2015), The Necklace of Tales (2015). Her literary prowess and creativity earned her a scholarship in 1998 from the Akadamie Schlos Solitude. In recognition of her creativity, the Ghanaian literary authority conferred the Ghana Book Award on her in 2008. This is the highest literary Honour in the country. She has equally enjoyed the fellowships of International Writing Program-Iowa; USA, International Writing Program-Hong Kong. 1.2 Scope of study This study is limited to Amma Darko’s novel entitled Faceless. The novel is chosen above her other works because her use of literary devices is well foregrounded. The major literary devices studied are characterization, setting and satire. 1.3 Purpose of study This study examines the effective use of literary devices in Amma Darko’s Faceless. It becomes necessary to study Darko’s use of artistic devices because the novel’s themes are anchored on them. 1.4 Methodology The method of analysis adopted in this study is qualitative. The primary text is thoroughly read and in-depth analysis is carried out on relevant excerpts. The excerpts are given textual analysis based on the researcher’s knowledge and secondary materials collected form library, academic journals, text books and the internet. 1.5 Theoretical background This research adopts formalism as the theoretical framework for this study. Formalism is a literary approach to the study of a text and it emphasizes the need to study the form of a literary work. Its primary interest bothers on how literary devices like language, setting, characters, point of view, irony, suspense are used to realize the form and content of a literary piece.According to Ann B. Dobie, “Coleridge’s concept of the organic, inherent nature of form in a literary work (noted earlier) is reflected in the formalists’ assumption that although the external, easily noted ordering of a poem or story may be significant in an analysis, form is actually the whole that is produced by various structural elements working together” (34). Formalistic critics posit that the best way to study the meaning of a literary text is to pay attention to the artistic devices deployed by the author. Rather than looking for an external ideology to explain it. On this note, formalists favour intrinsic exploration of a text rather than its extrinsic study. Intrinsic means that there are inbuilt, inherent or integral parts of a text which inform its meaning. M.H. Abrams argues that: Formalists have also made influential contributions to the theory of prose fiction. With respect to this genre, the central formalist distinction is that between the “story” (the simple enumeration of a chronological sequence of events) and a plot. An author is said to transform the raw material of a story into a literary plot by the use of a variety of devices that violate sequence and perform and defamiliarize the story elements; the effect is to foreground the narrative medium and devices themselves, and in this way to disrupt and refresh what had been our standard responses to the subject matter. (108) The literary devices deployed in telling a story are key to the realization of a text’s meaning and messages. Chris Baldick argues that formalism emphasizes on the literariness of a text.According to him formalist rely only texts to bring out its meaning. He says that, “the most important concept of the school was that ofDEFAMILIARIZATION: instead of seeing literary as a reflection of the world” (226). Wilfred L. Guering et al. clearly spell out the objective of formalistic critics. In their articulation, they contend that: The object of “formalistic” criticism is to find the key to the structure and meaning of the literary work a key that inevitably reveals itself as necessary to the experience of the work as an art Form. This approach is based on the idea that, although extraliterary considerations (such as the author’s life, his times, and sociological phenomena may be interesting and sometimes quite helpful, the heart of the matter ought to be, quit simply: what is the literary work, what are its shape and effect, and how do these come about? in short, we search for the form, necessary for a real understanding of the work. (45) Formalism seeks to know how a work is structured or organized in relation to plot. It finds out how a storyline is started and ended to determine such story’s plot.Furthermore, it examines how characters are moulded and the way minor and major characters are placed. All these build up the form of the text. Charles E. Bressler offers a scholarly comment on formalism and this is in line with what this theory’s supporters are known for. Bresseler commenting on where the meaning of a text lies possess a pertinent question. He asks: Where, then, can we find a poem’s meaning? According to the New Critics, it does not reside in the author, the historical or social context of the poem, or even in the reader. Because the poem itself is an artifact or an objective entity, its meaning must reside within its own structure. Like all other objects, a poem and its structure can be analyzed scientifically… It is the critic’s job, they conclude, to ascertain the structure of the poem, to see how it operates to achieve its unity, and to discover how meaning evolves directly from the poem itself. (44) Bressler’s assertion is similar to Dobie’s cited earlier which maintains that a text meaning must be sought within it and not outside. It means that external considerations like the author’s biography, political or socio-culture view should not be imported into a text’s analysis.Bressler emphasizes the need to identify and interpret all part of a text when he opines that an objective formalist ought to“analyze all images, symbols, and figures of speech within the text. Note the relationships, if any, among the element, both within the same category (between images, for example) and among the various elements (between an image and a symbol, for example” (47). One advantage the formalistic approach has over others is that it is more objective. It isthought that if art is not seen as an independent whoe, it will be seen as an extension of other disciplines like religion or history. T.S. Eliot, William Empson and I.A. Richard are leading formalists hence their scholarship reinforced the use of formalism in the 20th century. Dobie asserts that “T.S Eliot, I.A Richard and William Empson began to develop their ideas of how to read a text. Important to their thinking, for example, was Eliot’s announcement of the high place of art as art rather than as expression of social, religious, or political ideas”(33). A Text is a whole and within it lies everything a critic needs to interpret and evaluate it. Eliot opines that the best way to obtain the meaning of a text is to subject it to formalistic evaluation. Above all, formalism gives critics room to study the kind of language an author uses to create the world in which the literary work is situated. In view of this, the figurative features of a text’s language is looked at. At one point or the other, formalism has been given different names. It should be noted that there is a close link between formalistic approach and New Criticism such that the two terms are used interchangeably. Abrams comments on this thus, “American New criticism, although it developed independently, is sometimes called “formalist” because like European formalism, it stresses the analysis of the literary work as a self-sufficient verbal entity, constituted by internal relations and independent of reference either to the state of mind of the author or to the actualities of the “external” world” (108). A literary text explored in this way will yield unambiguous or subjective meaning of a text. This essay adopts the principles of formalism in the study of literary devices deployed in Darko’sFaceless. A close study of each device in relation to formalistic doctrine will enable the researcher to appreciate the artistic layout of the novel. 1.6 Review of Related Scholarship Kofi Anyidoho examines the decadence of society presented in Darko’s novels. His critical study bothers on The Housemaid, Faceless and Beyond the Horizon. Anyidoho notes that these novels: Tell one long and disturbing tale. Sadly, it is a tale of a diseased society that seems to have lost its hold on the life of its children. It is a provocative tale of a society that has developed an ability of guiding its young ones, especially the girl-child, into a life dedicated to prostituting every conceivable virtue for the sake of flimsy materials possessions. (x) Anyidoho’s comment is apt because a close study of these novels especially Facelessreveals a Ghanaian society cum African society that is sick and “diseased” as rightly noted above. Faceless introduces readers to a reckless society where immoral acts prevail over decent lifestyle. Darko in the novel reveals that most African families have sunk low into the pits of poverty which drives many into the streets where life is short and nasty. Anyidoho commends the satirical effort of Darko which aims towards achieving a balanced society where human happiness can be guaranteed. This assertion is captured thus in Anyidoho’s words: Fofo still needs the kind of helping hand offeredby kabriaand her colleagues at MUTE, the all-female NGO dedicated to helping dig out the many buried voiced of the dispossessed… The problem of street children has grown beyond any one individual or organization. It requires the collaboration of the kind we find here between the women of MUTE and the radio presenter on Harvest FM, Sylv Po, to help save the situation. (xv11) Faceless is a wake-up call to every African who wants to see the continent become an ideal society especially for the unborn generation. It is on this account that Darko portrays MUTE and Harvest FM as social reformation centers. In a comparative study on Darko’s Facelessand Lawrence Darmani’s Grief Child, Cynthia Osei and Cecilia Adder beam their searchlight on the phenomenon of street children which has endangered many lives in Ghana and Africa at large. Faceless identifies child abuse as a serious challenge which African leaders have failed to solve. Osei and Addei however contend that the problem of child abuse or molestation “can be curbed entirely starting from within the immediate family setting of the growing child”(108).Their comment points to the failure of many parents who have sacrificed African values for their quest for worthless material possessions. Many African families are dying as a result of parents’ negligence which has forced many under aged children to take their destinies in their own hands. This has also led to abuse of children by evil people who take advantage of parents’ weakness. Osei and Addei, however, suggest that there should be social centers where “children who are abused should have the personal determination and willingness to rise above their conditions by seeking help from the right source”(108). This assertion finds a place in MUTE created by in Faceless where helpless children can get shelter from the harsh condition of street life. Fofo goes there and she is helped by professional social workers who showed her love that her parents deny her. Mawuli Adjei in her study of Faceless depicts men as sexual terrorist who inflict pain on women. Adjei writes that: In Faceless, women children are sexually and physically brutalized by the likes of Onko, Kwe, Kpakpo, Macho, and Poison. Male violence, monstrosity and depravity are refracted through the conduct of these male characters. These monsters pervade the work of Faceless in a manner that leaves the reader male or female, totally disgusted and angry. (53) Adjei is of the opinion that men are presented as task masters who suppress and oppress women. At one point or the other all the men listed above exploit all of women that come their ways.Juliana Daniels Osofu, also takes on Faceless from a feminist angle. She explores the subjugation women are subjected in society and efforts made to be liberated. She notes that: The women in the novel(s) seek to rub shoulders with their fricative counterparts in contributing to national progress and development and more importantly, to gain individual self-actualization. Hence there is the need to shun the traditional notion of educating the boy child rather than the girl.In the face of antagonism and male chauvinism in contemporary society, Darko points out women have no option but to come together in a network that gives them the audacity to stand up to injustices against them. This is seen in the role of the MUTE ladies who come to the rescue of Maa Tsuru and Fofo. (187) Osofu calls on all women to seek emancipation from all forms of oppression which can limit their freedom. She praises all the women who run MUTE with the view to bringing succor to helpless girls and women. She notes that Darko usesFaceless to encourage all women to fully participate in programmes that can save women from exploitation. Felicia Annin looks at social decay that renders African societies less functional. She notes in Faceless: Amma Darko uses many instances to portray society. Among such issues include the attitude of government functionaries to their work. The police are cited in this story as public servants who are to champion the course of citizens in the society. However, the vivid description of the police station as well as the attitude of the Inspector symbolically depicts the inefficiency and power less this institution has been rendered o in our society. (810) As Annin rightly observes, Faceless paints a picture of a society that is ridden with decay or dead institutions.Thedescription of the police station and the attitudes of the officers on duty reveal a high level of decadence. For the help of harvest FM, the killer of Baby T. would have gone unidentified. With the state of the police station and the attitudes of the inspector on duty, one can rightly say that the government has failed to protect the welfare of its citizens. Faceless is presented as a riddle that must be solved hence it takes the style of a detective story. Edgar Fred Nabutayi’s comment on Faceless is dedicated to Darko’s style of narration. Nabutayi notes that the author,“uses narrative to document the multifaceted nature of children sex work in some African cities. Her detective plot and thriller style coverage places her in the literary public sphere a socio-analytic dossier concerning institutional practices and agents that facilitate underage prostitution.” (1890) Darko’s style resemble popular American thriller novels which feature detectives going after criminals. Darko exposes how crimes revolve around society with their attending effects on every individual in society. Francis Etse Awitor lends support to the assertion of Nabutayi when he says that, “Faceless offers a commentary on a diseased society which has lost the control over its children. They are offered cheaply and without remorse to the streets, where they are sold, exploited and abused sexually, assaulted and forced into prostitution”(130). This is a serious challenge African societies face and it has rightly come under Darko’s satirical attack. Contemporary literature mostly focuses on modern societies and latest issues. Mary Allen Haggins commends Darko who writes on societal issues which concern less important people’s children. In her articulation, she says that, “Darko brings to surface the forgotten, the repressed, the taboo: poor Ghanaian girls who are coerced into local, urban prostitution for profit of the family members” (73). Darko goes down to the level of the downtrodden and writes about their everyday life in a corrupt and wayward society. She reveals to the elites especially the leaders that lack of basic needs permeates the world of the downtrodden consequently their children are forced into the streets where they are subjected to hardship and exploitation.Haggins indicts family heads who profits from the prostitution of their girl children. Some parents like Maa Tsuru and Kpakpo strive on their children’s burden since they never make any effort to cater for their needs. The moment they realize the children are old enough to be admitted into the street, they send them there. On this account, Haggins calls on all family heads to ensure that their children are well brought up in order to have a society that is totally free from street children and petty crimes that go with reckless lifestyle. From the foregoing, this study has attempted to review previous scholarly comments on Darko’s Faceless. Really, many critics have commented on the novel however they mostly looked at the novel form social points of view. This research work therefore sets out to carry out an artistic study of the text’s deployment of literary devices. 1.7 Thesis Statement This essay argues thatAmma Darko’s Facelessforegrounds social challenges through the deployment of effective characterization, symbolic setting and satire.
ABSTRACT The researcher tries to show the roles of indigenous literary tradition in the development of Igala Community. This research work shows that indigenous literary tradition contributed greatly to the development... Continue Reading