The semantics of solidarity and brotherhood in Chinua Achebe's "No longer at ease"

Mercedes Bengoechea Bartolomé, Gema Soledad Castillo García

Abstract


We intent to shed new light on the role of Pidgin, one of the languages used by Achebe's characters in No Longer at Ease. We suggest that, contrary to what some literary critics have interpreted, Pidgin, far from being the language of triviality or of the uneducated alone, represents in Achebe's work an honourable rite of passage from rural life into urban development in a multilingual post-colonial nation, and a bridge between conflicting worlds, Africa and Europe, tradition and innovation. Furthermore, a close consideration of the semantics of solidarity in the novel reveals the importance of the roles played by two languages, Ibo, and, more outstandingly, Pidgin, as vehicles of fellowship and brotherhood. This is revealed by examining the use of three of the linguistic varieties present in No Longer at Ease: Ibo, conversational English, and Pidgin. Our analysis discloses a transfer of legitimacy from English to a communally owned Pidgin.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.55

Copyright (c) 2000 Mercedes Bengoechea Bartolomé, Gema Soledad Castillo García

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300