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The Epistle as a Medium of Communication: An Analysis of Abubakar Gimba’s Letters to My Children and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter

Filed in Current Projects, Linguistics Project Topics by on September 28, 2020

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The Epistle as a Medium of Communication: An Analysis of Abubakar Gimba’s Letters to My Children and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter.

ABSTRACT  

Communication is an act of exchanging information from one point to another; it is a very important activity of life. Humans and animals communicate in different ways and for different purposes. Communication could be either oral or written. However, the major concern of this work is the written form of communication.

Written communication is the exchange of information through letters, e-mails, blog etc. There are different forms of written communication one of which is ‘the epistle’. Epistles are a means of delivering communication through the use of letters. An epistolary novel on the other hand is a novel written as a series of documents in the form of a letter.

AbubakarGimba’s letters to My Children and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter are the selected texts for this research work. Therefore, this work sets out to explore the works of these two great feminist writers who in their artistic efforts employed a unique style of writing ‘the epistolary’ in order to convey their message(s) to their readers. 

INTRODUCTION  

Communication is a very important activity of life. Humans and animals communicate in different ways and for different reasons. Language is the primary but complex form of communication by which human beings are distinguished from other living things.

Humans use language to achieve premediated goals to defend themselves, to initiate and sustain interaction with one another. Language is not only used to communicate but also to do things and this is supported by Chomsky’s standard theory 1965 where he says “There’s little reason to believe that the primary use of language is to modify behavior or thought.”

Literature is the most effective tool for social criticism as well as a pool of strategies for moral uprightness that promotes literacy and cultures necessary for human and national development. Writers from time immemorial have accepted not just the creative license but responsibility and chosen various forms to play an active role in redirecting communities where they have gone wrong. 

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY  

This research work sets out to explore the works of two great feminist writers who in their artistic efforts employed a unique style of writing ‘the epistolary’ in order to convey their messages to their readers. Abubakar Gimba’s letters To My Children and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter are epistles whose major preoccupation has to do with the effective use of the language of correspondence.

These writers employ this device in order to explore and correct social, political and economic ills in their individual countries and Africa at large. Both writers are Africans but hail from different countries. Abubakar Gimba is a Nigerian or rather “a jewel of Northern Nigerian fiction and have contributed immensely in the popularization of Northern Nigerian Literature in English.” Babatunde (1991).

Gimba chooses a very apt form the epistle to explore in his Letters to My Children, an important yardstick of measurement of the moral principle which is expected to guide people towards growth and development. His wits are of special quality; this shows his nationalistic and patriotic concerns where he projects questions of national integration. He addresses problems of social fragmentation. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Andrew, A. A (2011): A Pragmatic Analysis of Mariama Ba’s So Long a
Letter. A paper presented at the academic trust fund (4th National
Conference.)`

Ba, M. (1891): So Long a letter African writers series (1981). Catholic
Encyclopedia; Epistle (in Scripture) new epistle 1911 encyclopedia
free online.

Gbenga, F. (1998): Studies in Stylistics and Discourse Analysis. Paradetic
press Yola.

Gimba, A. (2002): Letter to the Muslim Fundamentalist Craft books,
Ibadan.

Gimba, A. (2006): Letters to my Children. Craft books, Ibadan.

Gimba, A. (2008): Letter to the Unborn Child. Craft books, Ibadan
Hornsby, A.S: Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary

Jagaba, A. (2006): Letter Composition. A Case Study of Mariama Ba’s So
Long a letter. A project work submitted in the Department of
Modern European Languages and Linguistics, Usmanu Danfodiyo
University, Sokoto.

Johnson, K. (1986): Communicate in Writing, Longman Group, UK.
Ogunsiji A. et al (2013): Literary Stylistics; National Open University of
Nigeria e.course ware.

Ojaide, T. (2011) ‘Home Coming: African literature and Human
Development’ A Keynote Address at the 30th Annual ANA
International Convention, Abuja.

CSN Team.

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