In This Issue
This volume bears testimony to the fact that JELLiC is an international peer-reviewed journal that seeks to publish original scientific work in Language, Literature and Culture from scholars all over the world. It contains nine meticulously researched essays that discuss and examine various aspects of scientific research. Contributions are from scholars in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and the issues discussed are rich and varied.
In “Mapping the Influence, Analysing the Misreading/Miswriting: Oscar C. Labang’s Creative and Performative Strategy in The Trial of Bate Besong, Charles N. Teke uses intertextual theoretical lenses to analysis The Trial as an “artistic misreading and miswriting of Bate Besong”. From the perspectives of Harold Bloom’s psychoanalytical and intertextual theory, and Ode Ogede’s idea of “intra-African author dialogues”, Teke interprets the text as “an energetic artistic engagement with Bate Besong’s creative, political and philosophical thought” and argues that through the text Labang carves his niche in the Cameroon Anglophone writing and nation building platform. Teke is of the opinion that The Trial is as an intellectual critique and a performative strategy that creates possibilities for theoretical explorations of intra-national textuality and intertextuality i.e. “the interconnectedness of postcolonial texts and/or authors”. The article concludes that though “the burden of the mystery, the burden of the master is enormous” the playwright successfully establishes a voice and creates his own space.
Cyberspace and the collectivity that it provides to women to resist cultural norms through a book club is the subject of the paper by Patricia Boyd and Riki Meier. They delve into the world of online book clubs and examine the practices of women in such clubs. In “Meier in “Transformative Capacities within Webs of Power: Women’s Discussion of Books and Identity on www.weightwatchers.com”, they analyze the discussion posts of the Book Talk Group with the intent to show that though female club members “are affected by dominant norms” that delineate the kind of behavior that is suitable for women, the women still look for means “to resist these cultural expectations by collectively constructing positive identities based on their reading practices.” The discussion board, Boyd and Meier argue, creates an avenue for women to collectively construct “alternate identities” and resist cultural standards establish “the pervasive link between women’s self and the female body.” The collection, reading, discussion, and hoarding of books become a way of resisting both internal and external pressures about women’s behaviors and bodies.
Drawing from his repertoire of childhood metaphors, Stephen Newton in his short but interesting and intriguing essay “The Golden Nugget: Writing Centers, The Beatles, and the Teaching of Writing” uses the metaphoric dimensions of a “Golden Nugget” to show how writing centers can be transformed into spaces that give students the feeling of ease, comfort and familiarity. Thus, Newton in this essay suggests ways through which Writing Center staff can create atmospheres that diminish feelings of “anxiety and alienation” in students.
Robert Tindol’s essay “The Spontaneous Combustion Episode of Bleak House Revisited”, as the title suggests, is a rereading of the death by spontaneous combustion of the junkman Krook’s in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House. Tindol’s paper argues takes the argument about the Krook’s death beyond the symbolic significance that has been discussed by earlier scholars. In Tindol’s opinion, the scene is “a unique aesthetic creation that fully exploits the genre’s unique ability to address changing circumstances in the lives of individuals and families”. The paper concludes that the spontaneous combustion incident serves as a way of combining of past and present in the novel.
In “The Aesthetics of Victimization in Anglophone Cameroon Literature” Gerald Nforbin posits that the loss of individuality and the beginning of victimization of Anglophones in Cameroon is perceived by most Anglophone Cameroon writers to have started with the reunification. His paper therefore illustrates how the artistic and aesthetic twists in Anglophone Cameroon Literature portray Anglophones as victims of cultural, linguistic and political manipulation. From a Marxist theoretical standpoint, Nforbin’s hypothesizes that Anglophone literature is characterized by “the aesthetics of dissatisfaction and victimhood”.
“To Be A Good Father: Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild” is Megan Bishop’s investigation of the concept of fatherhood in Jon Krakauer narrative to show the positive and negative qualities of Walt McCandless’s fathering. The paper compares two epic heroes - Chris McCandless and Telemachus in terms of their perceptions, external narratives and cultural ideals of fatherhood. Through the use of Psychological theories, the paper analyzes Walt’s “negative fathering choices” and concludes that “the reader’s perception of Walt McCandless is skewed by his son’s perception and external narratives”. Bishop, however, argues that the shift at the end of the narrative reveals the contrary – that Walt McCandless is a good father.
Esther N. Ugwu and Oge A. Ikediugwu in “The Power of Things Unsaid: A Pragmatic Analysis of Silence in Zulu Sofola’s Lost Dreams” set out to explore the quality and depth of silence and how it functions to reveal deeper layers of meaning in Lost Dreams. The paper analyzes silence as a pragmatic dramatic device employed by Zulu Sofola, among many other pragmatic devices, to communicate relevant messages to the reader. Ugwu and Oge hold that silence does not simply suggest the absence of speech. To them it is a non-verbal act which when performed in an interaction reveals a range of possible meanings. Lost Dreams, therefore, make profuse use of silence that has strong communicative functions.
In “Revolutionary Roads: Violence Versus Non-Violence: A Comparative Study of The Battle of Algiers and Gandhi” Vikash Kumar takes the position of an Indian scholar born in the postcolonial era, and rereads two films in a bid to appreciate how the film-makers rewrite History, and write back to the Empire. He argues that in these cinematographic masterpieces there “exists parallelism on the theme of the suffering of the colonized versus the oppression of the colonizer in The Battle of Algiers and Gandhi.”
The focus of Stacy Ryan Ange’s short paper “Being in the Classroom: Teacher as Curriculum” is on the personality of the teacher as part of the curriculum – an aspect which has been somewhat ignored in the belabored questions of pedagogy. Thus, Ange is of the opinion that the inner spiritual life the teacher “is on center stage even if the specific details of that life are not.” While educators are concerned with other issues surrounding the classroom, Ange thinks that the life and personal development of the teacher affects the classroom profoundly and should also be examined closely. Using the ideas of Ken Wilber, Abraham Maslow, Parker J. Palmer, Lawrence Kolberg, and Willow Dea, the paper examines that inner life of a teacher as part of the curriculum from an experiential perspective.
Selected on the bases of originality, thematic suitability and qualitative research potential, it is evident, from the above summaries that the wide variety of issues tackled in the different papers makes this volume particularly rich.
Oscar Labang, PhD