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International Journal of English and Literature (IJEL) ISSN 2249-6912 Vol. 2 Issue 4 Dec - 2012 27-36 TJPRC Pvt.

. Ltd.,

NWANKWO O. CHIDI Department of English and Literary Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Nigeria

This research adopts an interdisciplinary perspective by combining the conceptual tools and linguistic analyses with literary elucidation. In our textual explication, discourse parallelism is employed to solve the problem of interpretation by showing us in rigorous and objective ways how our experience of a text is, in part, derived from its verbal structure. Although linguistics does not encompass literary criticism, it provides the dimensions for a consistent analysis and textual description of the selected texts through a concatenating network of grammatical, morphological, phonic, semantic and lexical parallelism. Literary elucidation is evoked through an exploration of pattern congruities and discoursal incongruities, symbols, images and mythic forms.

KEY WORDS: Parallelism, Literary Elucidation, Linguistics INTRODUTION Parallelism as a Literary Concept
Roman Jakobson describes this linguistic artifact as Canonical, pervasive parallelism (1966:399) which assumes a universal comparative significance. In his translation of Isaiah, first published in 1778, Robert Lowth articulated the concept of PARALLELISM MEMBRORUM and thus laid the foundations of a systematic inquiry into the verbal texture of ancient Hebrew poetry. Lowth distinguished between parallel lines the parallelism of conjoined verses, and parallel terms, the words or phrases, answering one to another in the corresponding lines. Subsequently, biblical research since Lowths early views, has studied repetitive parallelism of Hebrew poetry and, in projecting its relation to Ugaritic and Canaanite forms, has shown that Lowths parallel terms entail, in the Semitic oral traditions of Syria and Palestine, a standardized body of conventionally fixed word-pairs by means of which verse forms were composed. The study of parallelism originally inspired by these Hebraic parallels according to Fox, has become a subject of research among the oral literatures of the world(1971:216). Studies on parallelism in its varied metric, syntactic, phonic and semantic habiliments constitute an extensive field for comparative research. Boodberg quoted in Jakobson asserts that parallelism is: intended to achieve a result reminiscent of binocular vision, the superimposition of two syntactical images in order to endow them with solidity and depth, the repetition of the pattern having the effect of binding together syntagms that appear at first rather loosely aligned(1966:402). Research has shown that parallelism relates to the poetic canon of divergent folk patterns. Binary structures of morphologically, lexically and grammatically corresponding lines can be delineated in traditional prayers, incantations, funeral ululations, dirge, elegies, songs and other forms of oral verse. Oral poetry among Africans, Chinese, Russia and


Nwankwo O. Chidi

Jews display rigorous parallelistic canon. Musolf quoting Jakobson writes that the transference of the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into the axis of combination is an indispensable feature of poetic enunciation. It is by this process of invariants and variables, identical and contrastive that verbal art gain relevance. Musolf contends that their import lies in the vast variety of relationships, correlations and interconnections which only gain significance once equivalence becomes the constitutive device of a sequence (1986:217). In other words, just as parallels of repetition enhance our cognitive grasp of a literary text, so too do parallels of dissimilarity or antonym. In a modernist novel like The Interpreters paradoxical antithesis is employed to delineate character and functions as the subcategories of parallelism repetition and contrast. Elements of comedy and tragedy are opposites that co-occur in most literary texts. In some languages, coupling of semantic elements constitutes strands of parallelism. Semantic elements comprise dyadic sets which are structured in formulaic phrases; hence, composition consists in the generation of parallel poetic lines. The magnificent Rhade epic entitled La Chanson de Damsan translated by Sabatier (1933) is a good example of an exercise in parallel versification. Coordinate systems of complementary dualism constitutes the focus of attention for scholars engaged in mythological studies in Indonesia. James J. Fox contends that: Wherever these systems are most impressively evidenced (Nias, Ngadju, Toradja, Sumba, Timor and the Islands of eastern Indonesia), their means of expression is an elaborate tradition of pervasive parallelism. Of enormous importance is research into the relationship of these dual cosmologies to their medium of expression in dyadic language (1971:246). Psychologists have shown how parallelism can be employed in the neural science and in computer hardware and programming. They have raised philosophical questions about human consciousness and its link to both computing machines and the brain and nervous system. Robert Sokolowski shows that parallelism exists between the perceptual and the imagined. He asserts that we lead: Our human life by working through the present and the absent, and the parallelism between them occurs because we live in both the perceptual givenness of presence and the imagined givenness of absence (1992:91). Psychology makes it possible for us to understand the physiological dimensions of parallelism. The dual frame of parallel processing entails straddling the two dimensions of the perceptual and the imaged, the existent and the projected. This raises the epistemological question of the nature and character of consciousness and bi-location. Is it possible for a sentient being to be in two places simultaneously? Sokolowski writes that the blending of perception and imagination can occur on a pre-conceptual level (1992:90). This process also generates linguistic and conceptual possibilities. Mans cognitive abilities depend ultimately on the parallelism that exists between impression and imagination. Imagination constitutes souls thought while impression pertains to the facets of the mind. Consciousness or awareness is real only as a result of the parallelism between imagination and perception and the comprehension of objects both real and imagined that such blending permits have been the subject of neurological investigation. The principle of parallelism or duality in the Igbo proverb that says, wherever something (eg. man) stands, something else (in particular, its involute) will stand beside it means according to Animalu, that there is no one way of looking at reality(1990:11); hence if there is a composite (atomistic or spectral) nature of light, there must also be the

Parallelism as Categories of Discourse Patterning in wole Soyinkas the Interpreters and Chinua Achebes Anthills of the Savannah


wave (holistic) nature of light. There exists a parallelism between the holistic and the atomistic paradigms in a process of irreconcilable duality representing Africa and the West. In Musicology, researchers have studied parallelism as an important factor in metrical analysis. Parallelism involves a repetition of a sequence of notes. It involves a repetition of an intervallic pattern at different pitch levels known sometimes as sequence. It can also involve a repetition of contour the pattern of ups and down in a melody. Temperley and Bartlette assert that Parallelism primarily affects the distance between beats (period), (2002:148). It remains an indisputable fact that repeated patterns of pitch and rhythm affect the perception of metrical structure. Geoffrey Leech makes a very apt observation when he asserts that: The opening bars of Beethovens Fifth Symphony forcefully illustrate the patterning of constants and variables which is basic to almost all aspects of musical form. In this case it is the rhythmic figure with a fall on the last note which is the invariant part of the theme; the actual tonal values of the notes make up the variable element (1980:65). Again, research has shown the existence of a many-sided subtle parallelism between the historical development and the teaching and learning of mathematics, (2007:182). Yannis and Tzanakis suggest that: a deeper understanding of this parallelism should be gained by further exploitation of other specific examples. For instance, the teaching and learning of basic algebraic concepts in secondary education where recent research has a significant historical component (2007:182). Their analysis clearly shows the existence of a parallelism between history and pedagogy of mathematics which has a subtle nature with at least two different aspects (metaphorically named positive (+) and negative (-). Linguists study parallelism between to show relationships of equivalence between two or more linguistic elements, that is, the elements which are singled out by the pattern as being parallel. There are always some external connection between these elements. The connection is usually either of similarity or contrast. The antithesis projected by Pope in the line, To err is human, to forgive, divine is very apt and demonstrates the significance of parallelism as a concept that rests upon the process of equivalence. From the preceding research, it is a fact that parallelism is typical of varied aspects of human culturel apart from literature. Parallelism projects a multidimensional perspective and can be used to answer epistemological questions; hence, its interdisciplinary content is relevant.


Discourse patterning is employed in Soyinkas The Interpreters (1965) and Achebes Anthills of the Savannah (1988) at different levels of Linguistic Organization to create unique aesthetic forms. Pattern congruity in the two texts entails the form of sound parallelism in two or more structures at the phonological level. At the semantic level, lexemes which occur in the same paradigm are contracted either synonymously or antonymously. There are also syntactic equivalents in structures with similar patterns. Ultimately The Interpreters and Anthills of the Savannah embody reduplicative formations and recurrent returns as part of their linguistic repertoire.


Nwankwo O. Chidi

Our first passage for analysis is an extract from Soyinkas The Interpreters. Pattern repetition is employed in Sagoes speech for rhetorical effects: I was born with an emotional stomach. If I was angry, my stomach revolted; If I was hungry it rioted; if I was rebuked, It reacted; and when I was frustrated, it routed(P.70)


(i) If I was angry, my stomach revolted (ii) If I was hungry it rioted (iii) If I was rebuked it reacted (iv) When I was frustrated, it was routed These subordinate clauses are equivalent syntactically and semantically. They are initiated by the conjunction If and the adverb when. These structures express the same proposition. Pattern repetition, Leech aptly observes is often connected with theatrical emphasis and memorability (1980:67). It is the aesthetic of form rather than meaning which attract our attention to Sagoes inspired effusions. Sagoe has embroidered an elegant linguistic habiliment round his Philosophy of shit. The verb phrases revolted, rebuked, reacted, and routed are semantically related under the general feature [+animate]. Linguistic parallelism serves as an outlet through which Sagoes suppressed feelings are released. The Parallelisms are reinforced by the chiming of the voiced alveolar liquid [r] in the verb phrases. References to physiological secretions, shit, mucus, smears and defecation suffuse The Interpreters and point at years of intemperate eating of the countrys limited resources. Sagoes invention of a lavatorial philosophy of voidancy shows the over-indulgence and Philistine nature of the political and intellectual elite. Sagoe employs a devastating satire tinged with dry humour when he says that next to deathshit is the most vernacular atmosphere of our beloved country. Through a profusion of syntactic repetition Achebes Anthills of Savannah attempts to create an intense individual experience in the following extract: What passed through her mind and flowed through her senses during the midnight journey could not be assigned a simple name. It was more complex than the succession of hot and cold flushes of malaria. Indignation, humiliation, outrage, sorrow, pity, anger, vindictiveness and other less identifiable emotions swept back and forth through her like

Parallelism as Categories of Discourse Patterning in wole Soyinkas the Interpreters and Chinua Achebes Anthills of the Savannah


successions of waves coming in, hitting shallow bottom of shoreline, exploding in white froth and flowing back a little tired(P.107).


Noun phrases {Indignation {Humiliation {Outrage {Sorrow {Pity {Pity {Anger {Vindictiveness These noun phrases are in paradigmatic relationship with one another; that is they belong to the same grammatical category. The verb phrases swept, hitting, exploding, and flowing form a hybrid meaning. Whereas the noun phrases (NPs) are related synonymously under the general semantic feature [+violent emotion], the verb phrases (VPs) share the semantic environment/ + involuntary reaction. Lexical and syntactic repetitions are employed to express Beatrices violent and ineffable emotions. Beatrices feelings are shocked to epic proportions on her visit to the presidential guest-house at Abichi Lake. It was a visit that opened a can of worms revealing the profligacy, philistine life style and bestiality of the Kangan political elite. The leaders of Kangan are portrayed as a class devoid of philosophical vision. They also represent an emasculated bunch of stooges to local and foreign machinations. Beatrices revulsion and rejection of Kangan monstrous leadership elicits emotional effusions in dimensions which cannot be encased in one word. The author employs scatology to portray the enormous bubble of false respectability, hedonism and voluptuousness of the political and intellectual elite. Syntactic repetition is couched in Egbos reminiscences of his sexual exploration with Simi in The Interpreters: And he was remembering the wrung cries of his love-making now In darkness let me lie so now he Laughed. In the great yawn of the Land the rivers run stilled, turned a Black choking tongue, he laughed, for For the words were hardly on his tongue in darkness let me die cry also in darkness cry (P.127).


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(i).in darkness let me lie (ii).in darkness let me lie (iii) in darkness cry. The three parallel structures depict Egbos passionate yearning for the labyrinths of a womans body. His sexual escapades with Simi symbolize a descent into darkness. In a stream of consciousness Egbo relieves the primordial mysteries of sex. Through sex, he experiences agony but one in which he finds regeneration and fulfilment. The cry at the end is edifying as well as agonizing. The three syntactic structures are equivalent while the predicates lie and cry are related under the general feature/+animate. Dieke writes that the descent into darkness is an unconscious process: Symbolical of the womb into which the two must withdraw and where, as in the case between Egbo and the unnamed University girl, conception takes place. The literal and the metaphorical, conscious and unconscious, level of meaning meet those that seek the darkness of the maternal womb anticipate a return to a kind of prenatal bliss that daylight reality, pulsating with the stink of corruption, withholds from them (1993:28). The descent into darkness symbolizes a return to primordial simplicity and erotic innocence where primal values are celebrated and atavistic rituals performed in the depths of mans unconscious. Lexical repetition is employed in Anthills of Savannah to evoke the arcane mysteries of love-making: Priestess of goddess herself? No matter. But would he be found worthy? Would he Survive? This unending, excruciating Joyfulness in the crossroads of laughter and tears. Yes, I must, oh yes I must, yes, oh yes, yes, oh yes I must, must, must. Oh holy priestess, hold me Now. I am slipping, slipping, slipping. And now He was not just slipping but Falling, crumbling into Himself. (P.114).


(i) Priestess or goddess (ii) Would he be found worthy? (iii) Would he survive? (iv) Excruciating joyfulness (v) Laughter and tears

Parallelism as Categories of Discourse Patterning in wole Soyinkas the Interpreters and Chinua Achebes Anthills of the Savannah


(vi) Slipping ---falling ---crumbling. In our hermeneutic of the text priestess and goddess in pattern (i) are synonymously related. In the polytheistic Igbo society, priests and priestesses are vehicle through which anthropomorphic gods and goddesses operate. Parallelism takes the form of rhetorical questions in (2) and (3). These structures assume their own answers. Oxymoronic expressions are employed to depict the notion of interplay of contrasts in pattern (4). Excruciating joyfulness and laughter and tears are antonymously contracted. They connote the mystic state of complimentary dualism inherent in sexual ecstasy. Like Egbo, Chris cry is both agonizing and fulfilling. Lexical items such as slipping, falling and crumbling in pattern (5) indicate a descent into the abyss of sexual bliss. Pattern repetition is employed here to show the mysteries of sexual encounter. This dramatic encounter is elevated to mystic perspectives with the gods and their human agents as participants. Chriss paroxysms of erotica represent a primordial initiation. Like the Egbo-Simi relationship, Chriss own represents a chiasma, a female-male co-existence in one body. Sex brings to these characters a sense of emancipation and fulfillment. Another set of parallel structures in The Interpreters is a speech delivered by Lazarus during a special church service. The speaker makes use of structural parallelism to achieve rhetorical effects: It is true that Christ was raised from the dead, but that is Christ the Father, Christ the son, Christ the holy Ghost He raised himself, for he is the Father who raised the son, the son who raised the holy Ghost, The holy Ghost who raised the father(P.165).


(i) He is the father who raised the son (ii) (he is) the son who raised the Holy Ghost (iii) (he is) the Holy Ghost who raised the father The noun phrases the father, the son, and the Holy Ghost are in paradigmatic relationship. They belong to the same grammatical category. The words Holy Ghost and Christ also share phonological bond. They each end in /st/. Leech indicates that parallelism sets up a relationship of equivalence between linguistic items and strongly urges a connection between them, (1980:69). Parallel structures in the above examples give the same semantic value to the three NPs and VPs. Thus raised (1), raised (2) and raised (3) are related synonymously under the general feature [+ restore to life]. In the same manner the NPs share the semantic feature [+Holy trinity]. At another level, a parallelism exists between Simi as a representative of the female deity and Lazaruss Christian redemptive hero-Christ. Dieke articulates this duality: The tension resulting from the clash of contrary impulses, Christian and Simian, provides an intrinsic segment of anima-animus encounter (1993:32).


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Both Christ and Simi play a redemptive role. Christ descended from the realm of spirit to assume human flesh and suffering in order to redeem man. Simi descended from the level of illusory, airy, phantom-ladishness to that of a worldly courtesan to provide some saving grace for psychologically inadequate and culturally fallen man(1993:32). Phonological items are employed in The Interpreters for aesthetic effects. This is achieved through phonological parallelism. This is exemplified as in: It is true that Christ was raised from the dead, but that is Christ the Father Christ the son, Christ the Holy Ghost (P.165) The repetition of the item Christ /kraist/ is an example of alliteration. The NPs: Christ the Father, Christ the son and Christ the Holy Ghost are synonymously contracted. Above all, linguistic parallelism as shown here produces a semantic compound. The concept of the holy trinity in Christianity is compounded of: {Christ the father} {Christ the son} {Christ the Holy Ghost} The NPs form a semantic compound and the sonority of the alliteration in them is musical in its effects. Our next text is taken from Anthills of the Savannah: The sounding of the battle-drum is Important; the fierce waging of the War itself is important; and the Telling of the story afterwards each is important in its own way (P.124)


(i) The sound of the battle-drum (ii) The fierce waging of the war (iii) The telling of the story The subjects of the predicates are paradigmatically related. The repetitions run like refrains in a lyrical composition. The NPs embody the same semantic feature /+ warfare; that is, they express the same value. Pattern (i) expresses the threshold of war. Pattern (ii) shows the waging of the battle or the war itself. Pattern (iii) is the recounting of heroic encounters. Pattern (iii) also expresses the timelessness of the story. Of the three events, the story takes the apex position and is described and personified as: is important

Parallelism as Categories of Discourse Patterning in wole Soyinkas the Interpreters and Chinua Achebes Anthills of the Savannah


an owner director escort saviour

These attributes depict the eternal nature of the story and are employed in the Igbo culture according to Obiechina in the erection of communal icons. The four lexical items an owner, director, escort saviour share the same semantic value. Afigbo contends that: it is not the weak who historicise and the strong who wield the sword and act. It is the cultured and the virtuous who have the maturity and courage to look the bleak and bloody events of daily life coldly in the face, who historicise and intellectualise in order to do their societys remembering (1992:26) In The Interpreters syntactic ellipsis is employed in the episode involving Barabbas and the irate mob (pp.115116) to create structural compactness and parallelism. The structures are shortened to depict a dramatic but striking sense of immediacy. The lexical items hotel, upstairs, and balcony are semantically related under the general feature /+ inanimate (building). The masses are represented as victims of an exploiting social structure where the elite despoil the country with impunity. By throwing stones and sticks at little thieves like Barabas, the common people are shown to be brutal, irrational, gullible and ignorant of whom their real enemies are.

In our analyses, we tried to synthesize various strands of thought in many fields. Our trajectory is mainly interdisciplinary because parallelism pertains to varied aspects of human thought and culture apart from literature. Musicology, psychology, mathematics, proverbs and slogans and many other sub-literary uses of language abound in parallelism. Etymologically, we traced how the study of parallelism which was originally inspired by research in Hebraic parallels has become a subject of research among the oral literatures of the world. Parallelism thus becomes widespread assuming a general but comparative significance. Songs, ballads and novelistic enunciation have been shown to be parallelistic in design and this is amply demonstrated in parallel patterns from our selected texts. In Achebes Anthills of the Savannah and Soyinkas The Interpreters linguistic parallelism is employed to create unique aesthetic qualities. Through this device, hybrid meanings are imposed on lexical items; syntactic structures are made memorable through vivid images; different lexemes are invested with the same value and new meanings or concepts take deep anchorage in the readers consciousness. The conceptual strategies of linguistic and literary criticism have been of immense help in our textual analyses. The present


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research has, thus, focused attention on the linguistic patterning of literary language at all levels of linguistic organization phonic, semantic, syntactic, lexical and morphological. Parallelism as categories of discourse patterning thus, opens up new vistas for further research.

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10. Leech, G.N. Language in Literature. London: Longman, 2008. 11. Musolf, Peter M. Parallelism in Bchners Leonce und Lena: A Tragicomedy of Tautology. The German Quarterly. Vol.59, No.2 (Spring, 1986), Pp.216-227. Available on http://www.jstor.org/stable/407419. Accessed on 9th August, 2012. 12. Obiechina, E. Nchetaka: The Story, Memory and Continuity of Igbo Culture Ahajioku Lecture. Owerri: Ministry of Information and Social Development, 1994. 13. Sokolowoski, Robert. Parallelism in Conscious Experience. Daedalus, Vol.121, No.1, A New Era in Computation (Winter, 1992) Pp.87-103. Available on http://www.jstor.org/stable/20025420. Accessed on 9th August, 2012. 14. Soyinka, Wole. The Interpreters. London: Fontana, 1965. 15. Temperly, David and Bartlette, Christopher. Parallelism as a factor in Metrical Analysis. Music Perception in An Interdisciplinary Journal. Vol.20, No.2 (Winter 2002) Pp.117-149. Available on

http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525. Accessed on 9th August, 2012. 16. Thomaidis, Yannis and Tzanakis Constantions. The notion of historical Parallelism revisited: historical evolution and students conception of the order relation on the number line. Educational Studies in Mathematics. Vol.66 No 2; The History of Mathematics Education: Theory and Practice (October, 2007) Pp.165-183. Available on http://www.jstor.org/stable/27822698. Accessed on 9th August, 2012.