Fictionalization of Incidents in the Autobiographies of Ezekiel Mphahlele, Wole Soyinka, Camara Laye and Peter Abrahams
This essay examines how crucial incidents are to the artistic appeal of such African autobiographies as Ezekiel Mphahlele’sDown Second AvenueWole Soyinka’sAke: The Years of ChildhoodCamara Laye’sThe African Childand Peter Abrahams’sTell Freedom. In these autobiographies, incidents which the autobiographers utilize in the telling of their tales enable us to determine how much of what we read in the autobiographies is actual or fictional. In fact, the extent to which each of the autobiographies can be regarded as an invention or a false picture of the past, or better still, the extent to which each of the autobiographers can be regarded as a writer of fiction and hence as a literary autobiographer, is to be judged by the way the events or incidents in the autobiography are reported. As Seymour Chatman informs us, events (or incidents) in a narrative “are actions (acts) or happenings” (44) in the said narrative; but how factual or fictional these events appear depends on the mode of presentation.
KeywordsLove Relationship Rice Harvesting Good Spirit Narrative Skill South African Police
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