Child and youth protagonists in Habila’s Measuring Time and Dangor’s Bitter Fruit
Helon Habila’s Measuring Time and Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit deploy child and youth protagonists to offer nuanced perspectives on contemporary nationhood in Nigeria and South Africa respectively, displacing the adult, and mostly male viewpoints that have dominated novelistic portrayals of postcolonial nationhood for decades. These protagonists are portrayed symbolically in the context of the biological family, which can be read in allegorical and metonymic ways to represent the nation as a social unit. This article explores the portrayal of these protagonists and their families for the ways in which they may reflect national anxieties in general, and the problems of recent socio-political transition in particular. It also highlights how the breakdown of the family, as well as the different pathways undertaken by characters may represent simultaneously dystopian and auspicious futures for Nigeria and South Africa.
Adesanmi, Pius and Dunton, Chris. 2008. “Everything Good is Raining: Provisional Notes on the Nigerian Novel of the Third Generation.” Research in African Literatures,39 (2): vii – xii. http://jstor.org/stable/20109574.
Adesanmi, Pius and Chris Dunton. 2005. “Nigeria’s Third Generation Writing: Historiography and Preliminary Theoretical Considerations.” English in Africa, 32 (1): 7–19. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40239026.
Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Amoko, Apollo. 2009. “Autobiography and Bildungsroman in African Literature.” In: F. Abiola Irele (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the African Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 195-208.
Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Trans. Michael Holquist and Caryl Emerson. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Bhabha, Homi. 1990. “DissemiNation: Time, Narrative, and the Margins of the Modern Nation.” In: Homi Bhabha (ed.), Nation and Narration. New York: Routledge, 291-322.
Boehmer, Elleke.1995. Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brennan, Timothy. 1990. “The National Longing for Form”. In: Bhabha, Homi K. (ed). 1990. Nation and Narration. London: Routledge. 44-70.
Butler, Anthony. 2015. “Scorching tribalism may follow Zulu dawn”. Available at:
http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/columnists/2015/07/17/scorching-tribalism-may-follow-zulu-dawn Accessed 10 December 2015.
Capur, Aneesha. 2005. Review of Bitter Fruit. Available at: http://www.curledup.com/bitterf2.htm. Accessed 10 December 2015.
Caroline, Nancy. 2015. Nancy Caroline’s Emergency Care in the Streets. Burlington, USA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
D’Agostini, Guilia. 2013. “War-scapes: The Nigerian Postcolony and the Boundaries of the Human“. Phd Thesis abstract. University of Padova, Italy. Available at: http://paduaresearch.cab.unipd.it/5838/. Accessed 10 December, 2015.
Dangor, Achmat. 2001. Bitter Fruit. Cape Town: Kwela Books.
Fasselt, Rebecca. “Reassessing Thematic Crossings between South Africa and Nigeria: Postcolonial Leadership and Power in Mandla Langa’s The Lost Colours of the Chameleon and Helon Habila’s Waiting for an Angel.” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature vol. 26, no. 3, 2015, pp. 23–53. www.muse.jhu.edu/article/589872.
Habila, Helon. 2007. Measuring Time. London: Hamish Hamilton.
Hron, Madelaine. 2008. “Orana-azunwa: The Figure of the Child in Third-Generation Nigerian Novels.” Research in African Literatures, 39 (2): 27-48. www.jstor.org/stable/20109577
Irele, Abiola. 1979. “Chinua Achebe: the tragic conflict in his novels”. In: Ulli Beier (ed.), Introduction to African Literature. London: Longman, 177-188.
Jahn, Manfred. 2007. “Focalisation”. In: Herman, David (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 94-108.
Kan, Toni. 2015. “What Helon Habila told me before he wrote Measuring Time”. Available at: www.sabinews.com/what-helon-habila-told-me-before-he-wrote-measuring-time-by-toni-kan. Accessed 18 December 2014.
Kearney, Jack. 2012. “The Representation of Child Deprivation in Three Contemporary African Novels: An Exploration”. English in Africa,39(1): 125–144. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eia.v39i1.7.
Krishnan, Madhu. 2013. “Affiliation, Disavowal, and National Commitment in Third Generation African Literature.” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature,1 (2013): 73-97.
Kunzru, Hari. 2007. “Unparallel Lives”. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/books/review/Kunzru.t.html?_r=0. Accessed 10 March 2013.
Lipenga, Ken Junior. 2014. “Narrative Enablement: Constructions of Disability in Contemporary African Imaginaries”. PhD thesis, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Mafe, Diana Adesola. 2013. Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
McClintock, Anne. 2007. “The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term ‘Post-Colonialism’”. In: African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory. Ed. Tejumola Olaniyan and Ato Quayson. Malden: Blackwell, 628-636.
Nwamu, Aniebo. 2015. “Nigeria’s Breakup: Danger Still Looms”. Available at: http://leadership.ng/columns/438973/nigerias-breakup-danger-still-looms. Accessed 10 November 2015.
Okri, Ben. 1992. The Famished Road. Ibadan: Spectrum Books.
Okuyade, Ogaga. 2009. “The Postcolonial African Bildungsroman: Extending the Paradigm”. Afroeuropa, 3 (1): 1-11.
Oliver, Michael. 1996. Understanding Disability: From Theory to Practice. Houndmills: Macmillan.
Opata, Damian, U. 1996. “Chinua Achebe: The Writer and a Sense of History.” In Ihekweazu, E. (ed.).Eagle on Iroko. Ibadan: Heinemann, 64-66.
Ouma, Christopher. 2011. “Composite Consciousness and Memories of War in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun”. English Academy Review,28 (2): 15-30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10131752.2011.617991
Ouma, Christopher E. W. 2009. Childhood(s) in Purple Hibiscus. English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies, 26 (2): 48-59. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10131750903336064.
Peek, Philip M. 2011. Twins in African and Diaspora Cultures. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Quackenbush, Nicole. 2008. Bodies in Culture, Culture in Bodies: Disability Narratives and a Rhetoric of Resistance. PhD Dissertation. The University of Arizona, USA.
Roy, Anindyo. 2011. “Auto/Biographer, Historian, Griot: Measures of Realism and the Writing of History in Helon Habila’s Measuring Time.” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, 48 (1): 5-26.
Samuelson, Meg. 2008. “Walking Through the Door and Inhabiting the House: South African Literary Culture and Criticism after the Transition”, English Studies in Africa, 51 (1): 130-137.
Schatzberg, Michael. 1988. “The Triple Helix: Nation, Class and Ethnicity in the African State”. In: The Dialectics of Oppression in Zaire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Slaughter, Joseph. 2007. Human Rights, Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form, and International Law. New York: Fordham Press.
Stanzel, Franz. 1984. A Theory of Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tenshak, Juliet. 2014. “History, Culture and Tradition in Helon Habila’s Measuring Time”. International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies, 2 (3): 54-62.
Vázquez, José S. F. 2002. “Recharting the Geography of Genre: Ben Okri’s The Famished
Road as a Postcolonial Bildungsroman”. Journal of Commonwealth Literature,37 (2): 85-106. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/002198940203700207
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.