Defamiliarizing Marriage in a Patriarchal Socio-Cultural Context: An Analysis of the Novels of Euphrase Kezilahabi and Said Ahmed Mohamed

Miriam Kenyani Osore


A major objective of this paper is to uncover ideological assumptions on marriage that are embedded in the defamiliarization techniques that are utilized by Euphrase Kezilahabi and Said Ahmed Mohamed in their works. The controlling question is: Under what circumstances are defamiliarization techniques used and what effect do they achieve? The paper therefore discusses the aspects that defamiliarize marriage in a patriarchal socio-cultural context in the works of the two authors. It therefore explores the relationship between the defamiliarization techniques and the socio-cultural structures. The paper further discusses the meanings, aesthetics and effects of defamiliarization devices on the readers. I argue that one of the fundamental motivations of use of defamiliarization techniques is to ideologically put forward a definite moral value. The analysis of the defamiliarization techniques makes inferences from the works under study while constructing indicators of worldview, values and attitudes, which construct and deconstruct the popular ideological and cultural beliefs and practices. Significantly, the paper directs inquiry into the relationships between power, status and solidarity, which have been ignored in most linguistic models of communication but which are fundamental to the understanding of literary texts. It is my view that normal usage of language has the important role of establishing normative concepts that define social reality, which in turn has a controlling power over individual identity. It is within this understanding that this paper discusses how defamiliarization techniques are instrumental in exposing and questioning some of the popular ideologies, at the levels of cultural beliefs and practices especially in relation to marital confinement, gender roles in marriage and parenthood with a view of establishing their cultural and ideological underpinnings.

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