Title page for ETD etd-05152007-090311


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Musvoto, Rangarirai Alfred
Email ramusvoto@yahoo.com
URN etd-05152007-090311
Document Title Society writ large: the vision of three Zimbabwean women writers
Degree MA (English)
Department English
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Ms K Soldati-Kahimbaara Committee Chair
Prof R Gray Committee Co-Chair
Keywords
  • socio-historical context
  • social realism
  • the Shona experience
  • fabulism
  • autobiography
  • feminist literary representation
  • post-independence
  • Rhodesia/Zimbabwean society
  • ideology
Date 2006-02-27
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This study explores the social ‘vision’ of three Shona women writers vis-à-vis their Zimbabwean society, attempting to ascertain whether this vision is entrenched in the post-independence context or has been shaped by the whole canvas of colonization and its impact on Shona society. For this purpose, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions (1988), Yvonne Vera’s Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals (1992) and Freedom Nyamubaya’s Dusk of Dawn (1995) have been selected to explore the representation of Zimbabwean society in different artistic genres.

The approach is mainly socio-historical, examining the selected texts in the context of Zimbabwean history and paying attention to how the socio-political dynamics in both colonial Rhodesia and post-independence Zimbabwe influence the creative output of Zimbabwean writers, in general, and of the selected writers, in particular. In addition, this study refers to other aspects of literary theory, especially African feminist theories, since all three writers discuss the plight of black African women.

This study consists of four chapters arranged according to the historical period in which the texts are set, which coincides with publication date. Chapter One provides a general background to Zimbabwean writing in English to root the study in the socio-historical experiences of the country. This chapter thus considers the works of both white and black writers. Chapter Two discusses Nervous Conditions, critiquing it as a women’s narrative in a social realist mode, because it portrays the social and political forces as significant shapers of human lives. Chapter Three analyzes Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals as a text in the fabulist mode, which re-imagines cultural and literary politics. Nyamubaya’s poetry, discussed in Chapter Four, is autobiographical and ideological. It revisits the Zimbabwean liberation war, situating it within both the private and national spheres, and arguing that such a standpoint emanates from Nyamubaya’s need to make sense of her own experiences during the war and in post-independence Zimbabwe.

In conclusion, the study summarizes the major findings of the research, analyzing these against the background to Zimbabwean writing in English given in Chapter One.

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