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ERIC Number: ED441246
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
(Dis)Located Readers? High School Students Responding to African Fiction.
Johnston, Ingrid; Mangat, Jyoti
A study explored whether high school readers respond significantly differently to African novels in which unfamiliar cultural elements are presented "aggressively" than to those with an "assimilative" presentation of unfamiliar cultural elements. The three novels are set in Africa: Nancy Farmer's "A Girl Named Disaster," Buchi Emecheta's "The Bride Price," and Richard Rive's "'Buckingham Palace' District Six." Two of the authors (Emecheta and Rive) write from their own experiences of living within a particular African culture, and one (Farmer) explicitly translates an African culture that is outside of her experience. Participants, eleventh-grade students from a mainly white, middle-class Canadian suburb, had few life experiences to bring to these African texts, and the assumption was that they would consider themselves "dislocated" readers of these works. Students did a blind reading of the first chapters of the novels and responded in writing to questions of language, voice, and cultural translation, commented on the intended audience, and speculated on the possible relationship of the author to the culture being described. Of the 25 students in the class, 23 suggested that Farmer's book was intended for young adults in Western countries, supporting their opinion with references to the way language is used in the text. Almost all students commented on a contrast in tone and intent between Emecheta's and Farmer's novels, suggesting that the tone of Emecheta's novel was "richer" and "more complex." Rive's novel was recognized as having been written by an insider to a culture--South Africa. Students appeared most satisfied with the texts in which the unfamiliar culture was presented as "normal" and not translated for them. (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A