Charles Mungoshi’s contribution to our understanding of female tragedy in a Zimbabwean context.
Borain, Bernice Cynthia.
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This dissertation is a literary analysis of Charles Mungoshi’s narratives Waiting for the Rain (Mungoshi, 1975), “The Day the Bread Van Didn’t Come” (Mungoshi, 1980), “The Little Wooden Hut in the Forest” (Mungoshi, 1997), and Branching Streams Flow in the Dark (Mungoshi, 2013), utilising aspects of Aristotelian classical and modern theories of tragedy as a lens to undertake a feminist reading of his books. A chronological examination of the selected tragic heroines demonstrates that as the characters evolve so do Mungoshi’s concerns with regard to Womanpower. The tragedy in each case is that his admirably strong, female protagonists are oppressed in patriarchal Zimbabwe. The “error” or flaw is their complicity with their oppressors in their subjugation, marginalising them further, when it is apparent to the reader that they are more capable than their male counterparts in many ways. This deliberate foregrounding demonstrates Mungoshi’s unsentimental feminist concerns, which take into account the contemporary acceptance of realistic resolutions for the tragic heroines. The introduction determines the parameters for Mungoshi’s contemporary tragic heroines, and thereafter expands on the specific feminist concerns raised by Mungoshi for each of the character’s journey to catharsis. The study also locates Mungoshi’s characters within an appropriate social and historical context based on the Zimbabwean setting of the stories that are analysed.