Metaphoric Logic in the Construction of Patriarchal Ideology: Euphemisms and Dysphemisms in Selected Nigerian Novels

Amaka C. Ezeife


The significance of metaphoric uses of language is evident in their potential to convey understanding from what is known to what is less known. Nigerian novels are richly embedded with metaphoric logic which subtly resonates the ideological views of Nigerian people. Despite the vast array of studies on gender-based Nigerian novels, scholars are yet to examine euphemisms and dysphemisms as forms of metaphoric logic in constructing patriarchal ideology. This study investigates how these items are metaphorically used in the construction of patriarchal ideology in Nigerian novels. Three Nigerian novels with ample gender issues were purposively sampled – Helon Habila’s Measuring Time, Jude Dibia’s Blackbird, and Liwhu Betiang’s The Cradle on the Scales. The article draws significantly from critical discourse analysis, conceptual metaphor and dominance gender theory. It reveals that the patriarchal ideology is characterised by two metaphoric concepts, portraying how both genders adapt and opt for patriarchal provisions to promote cultural values.

Keywords: metaphor, patriarchal ideology, Nigerian novels, euphemisms and dysphemisms

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 [ISSN 0856-9965 (Print)]