Yémalo C. Amoussou


This paper applies the Structuralist Character Theory to 33 extracts of inner experience from Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart (1958) with the view to showing that some of the narratorial judgments about two central characters, namely Okonkwo and Obierika, seriously lack textual evidence and need revising. Not only does the paper succeed in proving, drawing on the statistics of mental and behavioural processes, that Okonkwo, the man said ‘not to be a man of thought’ ends up being at least 23 times more so than the one said to be so. Though this injustice can be accounted for by the narrator’s ideological clash or complicity with either character, the researcher invites language scientists to defamiliarize, to submit other works to similar analyses to avoid falling into the dangers of linguistic familiarization. He strongly believes, to quote a prominent linguist, that “After the analysis, what seemed flat becomes rounded; what was rounded still has other dimensions added to it” (Halliday, quoted in Cummings & Simmons, 1983: viii).

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structuralist character theory, defamiliarize, inner experience, processes, rewriteable discourse

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