GENDER AND POWER IN UBESIE’S NOVELS A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS
Gender studies is pervasive as it permeates all human endeavour. It is applicable to diverse areas of study such as literature, sociology, education and philosophy. This study, therefore, investigates the novels of Tony Ubesie with a view to giving insight on the representation of male and female characters’ gender identities, manifestation of power and dominance and how their representation reflect gender ideologies. It also looks at the role of discourse in the construction of gender identities. The study adopts Van Dijk’s model of Critical Discourse Analysis as its theoretical framework to scrutinize actions of characters in the novels in relation to their manifestation of power and dominance. From the findings, male characters are depicted as strong, fearless, benevolent and superior. Female characters manifest identities such as incompleteness, protective, caring and seductive. Neuter identities such as being materialistic, mercurial, promiscuous and domineering are also identified. It is found out that in the case of the neuter identities, one gender tends to have an upper hand than the other in the portrayal of such particular identity. Using the tenets of Critical Discourse Analysis, the study discovers that strategies such as intrigue, manipulative statements, threat, and series of questioning are avenues through which the dominant groups control the minds of the dominated group. The dominated group in return tries to resist such dominance through measures such as intrigue, exile, deception and telling lies. The study further observes that the female characters that rose to power in the narratives abused such power; and gender stereotypes are reinforced by the manifestation of a patriarchal ideology where power rests majorly on the male gender. The conclusion from the findings is that power and dominance in Ubesie’s novels are not static, but to a large extent, the male characters are portrayed to be more powerful and domineering than their female counterparts.
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