Disposition of the Child within the Family: A Case Study of Caribbean Literature

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John Mugubi


This study is based on the premise that a literary writer has a wide range of narrative agents to choose from. Literary artists discriminate in the choice of both subject–matter and technique. When a writer thus makes a selection, it is assumed that he opts for what is best suited to articulate his vision or ideological perspectives on a multiplicity of concerns. A writer’s preference in terms of character-types should therefore never be taken for granted but rather should be perceived as a vehicle through which the writer lays bare his/her message. Boulton (1954) asserts: “a story or essay will achieve an effect on the reader by selection of some aspects of the subject” (p.109). Characterization in Literature is therefore a deliberate enterprise aimed at achieving certain goals. Characterization has all along been an important part in literary history. During the classical period, only characters of the highest social standing were treated as subjects of truly serious attention in literary art. Ordinary human existence could only be treated in a flippant, comic or satiric manner. A writer would thus employ a child character in literature intended for mature persons because he/she is convinced that the age factor will express his message more forcefully than if he/she employed an adult character. Wilson-Tagoe and Dabydeen (1987, p.38) assert that in novels about childhood, “the child’s experiences become part of the novel’s social and political vision, and are often controlled and shaped by the overall point of view of the writer”. This study thus seeks to investigate the function of the child in the West - Indian adult novel.


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Mugubi, J. (2017). Disposition of the Child within the Family: A Case Study of Caribbean Literature. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(5). https://doi.org/10.58256/njhs.v1i5.574

How to Cite

Mugubi, J. (2017). Disposition of the Child within the Family: A Case Study of Caribbean Literature. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(5). https://doi.org/10.58256/njhs.v1i5.574


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