Creating a Bildungsroman from a Collage

Re-Reading Shimmer Chinodya’s Can We Talk and Other Stories

in Matatu
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The essay re-reads all of the stories in Shimmer Chinodya’s collection Can We Talk and Other Stories as one entity—a collage—that establishes the framework of a bildungsroman. Here, the exploration of the bildungsroman is limited to the tracing of levels/stages of growth and is extended to the protagonist’s adult life, against the traditional early years of life. From the opening story, of a three-year-old protagonist looking at the adult world through the stories of different protagonists who grapple with different stages of life, to the last story, of an embittered husband in a dysfunctional marriage, the collection strongly suggests a conscious arrangement conveying a sense of a coming of age, both individual and national. In essence, at the end of reading the collection, there is a strong indication that the different situations of the lives of the different protagonists of the eleven stories in the collection build up to yield a unified sense of growth.

Creating a Bildungsroman from a Collage

Re-Reading Shimmer Chinodya’s Can We Talk and Other Stories

in Matatu

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References

1

Amos TutuolaThe Palmwine Drinkard (London: Faber & Faber1952).

2

Shimmer ChinodyaCan We Talk and Other Stories (Harlow: Heinemann2001).

5

Richard K. Priebe“Transcultural Identity in African Narratives of Childhood,” African Literature Today 25 (2006): 41–52.

6

Priebe“Transcultural Identity in African Narratives of Childhood” 41.

7

Ogaga Okuyade“The Postcolonial African Bildungsroman: Extending the Paradigm,” Afroeuropa: Journal of Afroeuropean Studies 3. 1 (2009):3.

9

Ferdinand OyonoHouseboy (Oxford: Heinemann1966).

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