European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies (EJELLS)

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Oral Literature and the Representation of the Image of the woman in the Contemporary African Context: The Study of Nso, Mbum and Idoma Proverbs


The paper investigates the representation of the image of the woman in oral literature using selected   proverbs from Nso, Mbum and Idoma oral communities. The paper is anchored on the prediction that these proverbs are both ideologically and aesthetical relevant to the communities that produce them. The thrust of argument of this paper resides around the premise that the languages of the people are vectors of their significant view points, and collective cultural experiences. The study holds that as an aspect of oral literature, proverbs serve various functions and one of such is that as mirrors of the social and cultural experiences of the people they can be read  as instruments that reveal how women are viewed, thought of, expected to act, live and behave in the society. From the functionalist perspective and the relevance theoretic lens, the paper sees proverbs as contributing in uncountable ways to the positive transformation of oral communities due to their dynamic and transcendental character. The analysis revealed that the selected proverbs under scrutiny in this study are effective instruments through which one can perceive the representation of the image of a woman in most African oral communities for a better transformation, recognition, and reevaluation of developmental policies.

Keywords: Oral literature, Proverbs, Representation., image, woman

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