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15-12-2014
Warding off Death and Ensuring Life Continuity: The Case of the Carrier-Hero in the African Novel

Hermann Fanthaha Camara
ENS Abidjan
 
Introduction
The purification “ritual” of the pre-literate African society despite its re-emergence in
modern African literature does witness some basic changes in its appropriation of the novel
form, especially the African novel. In addition to what Ruth Finnegan has described as an
“overlap”1 between the oral and the written in traditional societies in the modern world and
which Soyinka did refer to as the “survival pattern”2, the changes have been necessitated by the
imperativity of the transformed African society from the traditional (in most cases, feudalist) to
the modern (capitalist) society. This is consequent upon the opening-up of Africa to the capitalist
economy of the West and the subsequent emergence of the middle-class. Indicative of these
changes is the fact that the survival of colonial and post-colonial African society is particularly
hinged on prevailing socio-economic conditions, no longer determined by the society’s ability
and, or willingness to carry out its “traditional duties” to the ancestors or some traditional gods
or deities.