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Every fictional work must show realism not mere fabrication of unrealities purposely designed to distort the history of a people. Critical thinking and analysis of any literary work requires a thorough investigation of the “who, where, when, what, why, etc.” of such work. For instance, some writers describe the African prose fiction during colonial era as a ‘protest’ fiction. Being that writers of this period attempted using their writing to correct the long-held prejudices and aspersions cast on African tradition and cultural ethos by the white. By so doing, it focused more on the oral traditional features by borrowing some of oral elements such as proverb, songs, dance, folktales, myth, and legend among others.

Thus, the themes dealt with by African novelists include art, religion, urban-life, tradition and culture, apartheid, ironies of life, and pre-colonial, colonial, and neo-colonial reality. Just as the common storyteller of old, the contemporary African fiction writer aims at helping his/her society to change while retaining the best features of authentic African cultures.

Storytelling is pretence. The storyteller purports to be telling the truth about matters whereof he has knowledge. He purports to be talking about characters who are known to him, and whom he refers to, typically, by means of their ordinary proper names. But if his story is fiction, he is not really doing these things. Usually his pretence has not the slightest tendency to deceive anyone, nor has he the slightest intent to deceive. Nevertheless he plays a false part, goes through a form of telling known fact when he is not doing so. This is most apparent when the fiction is told in the first person.

Conceptualizing Fiction

Fiction is derived from the Latin word fictum which means “created”. Fiction is a term used to denote anything, mainly stories or accounts that are not real. Can you recall the fairy tale or other stories that your mother or grandmother used to tell you about animals, monsters, or even human beings that existed in faraway countries or in the primordial times.


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