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Communication is a very important activity of life. Humans and animals communicate in different ways and for different reasons.Language is the primary but complex form of communication by which human beings are distinguished from other living things.Humans use language to achieve premediated goals to defend themselves,to initiate and sustain interaction with one another.Language is not only used to communicate but also to do things and this is supported by Chomsky’s standard theory 1965 where he says “There’s little reason to believe that the primary use of language is to modify behavior or thought.”
Literature is the most effective tool for social criticism as well as a pool of strategies for moral uprightness that promotes literacy and cultures necessary for human and national development.Writers from time immemorial have accepted not just the creative license but responsibility
and chosen various forms to play an active role in redirecting communities where they have gone wrong.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
This research work sets out to explore the works of two great feminist writers who in their artistic efforts employed a unique style of writing ‘the epistolary’ in order to convey their messages to their readers.
Abubakar Gimba’s letters To My Children and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter are epistles whose major preoccupation has to do with the effective use of the language of correspondence.These writers employ this device in order to explore and correct social, political and economic ills in their individual countries and Africa at large.Both writers are Africans but hail from different countries.Abubakar Gimba is a Nigerian or rather “a jewel of Northern Nigerian fiction and have contributed immensely in the popularisation of Northern Nigerian Literature In English.” Babatunde (1991). Gimba chooses a very apt form the epistle to explore in his Letters To My Children, an important yardstick of measurement of the moral
principle which is expected to guide people towards growth and development.His wits are of special quality;this shows his nationalistic and patriotic concerns where he projects questions of nationalintegration. He addresses problems of social fragmentation.He tackles issues of empowerment and gender rights and particularly the quest to entrench transparent and purposeful leadership values in our youths.He represents the Muslim point of view in a deft but calm and responsible way and argues in a balanced and mature manner.
Using similar unique style (the epistle) ,popular on the African scene is Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and its critique of gender discrimination in marriage.Mariama Ba was an iconic Senegalese female author and feminist who wrote in French.Ba is considered as Africa’s best feminist writer. She achieved an instant international fame when her novel Une Si Longue letter (So Long a Letter) published in 1981 won the prestigious Noma Prize and gained wide acclaim.What makes So Long a Letter a classic is not only its brave and honest account of the challenge of polygamy for women but its subtly relucidated message calling for
women’s self reliance. Ba reveals throughRamatou Laye the inner strength demanded of a woman but also, poignantly, the challenges and fears that she faces. The much broader message that any reader will take away is the sense of hope and disappointment, clarity and confusion of those caught in the bewildering social change of the twentieth-century Africa.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Abubakar Gimba’s Letters To My Children and Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter are the selected texts for this research work.The researcher chooses these texts because of the uniqueness of the style adopted by the writers.The irresistible appeal the texts have to the reader and the realism of the themes on contemporary African society is not to be left out either.
However,it is also to make a research analysis into the epistolary style of writing employed by both writers to create vivid pictures on the minds of the readers for the purpose of achieving the set out goals and objectives of this research.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Education is today’s child (Boy and Girl) insurance against an
uncertain future. It is his/ her ticket to a better life. And it is thus the only
enduring legacy that parents and guardians can bequeath to their wards.
This is Abubakar Gimba’s argument in Letters To My Children. The author
warns against complacency on the part of students as he challenges them to
strive for greatness and excellence through hard work and right living.
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