2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Anomie and Transformation: An Optimistic Reading Of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
Stephanie A. Malin
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In Ayi Kwei Armah’s 1968 novel The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, the reader meets the man, Armah’s main and unnamed protagonist, in the dismal, defeating and corrupt landscape of postcolonial Ghana. While both Armah’s piece and his main character seem pessimistic at first glance, under more scrutiny both convey much more optimism than initially suspected. This research paper intends to show, first, that grounding the man in his historical setting of postcolonial Ghana sheds much light on his pessimism and the corruption presented by Armah. In addition, by employing William James’ sick soul and Emile Durkheim’s anomie concepts, along with Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism, Armah’s man exhibits a transformative quality. In combination with his final symbolic acts and conclusions, the man’s transformative characterization prove to make both the novel and the man sources of optimism in the genre of postcolonial literature.

Keywords: Armah, Postcolonialism, Anomie


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 33-5
Location: VH 1320
Time: 3:15

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