L'imaginaire Dans Les Romans De Camara Laye

Author: Azodo, Ada Uzoamaka

Supervisor: Oladele M. C.

Several studies have been devoted to the narratives of Camara Laye. None of them, as far as we have been able to determine, has examined his novels as a unit whole, with the same protagonist who changes his name from time to time only to reflect the level of his spiritual and psychological attainment. This thesis contends that the novels of Camara Laye, that is L'Enfant noir, Le Regard du roi and Dramouss, seen as the creations of the imagination of the one and only mind of the author, deliver quite a connected philosophical and moral message to mankind. By employing the mythocritical methodology, we have been able to give anthropological dimensions to an apparent typical African writing. The emphasis was on the structural and anthropological analyses of symbols and images in the novels, and on the comparison of myths present in the works with other myths in world mythologies wherever and whenever it was possible to do so. After all myth, in a profound sense, is it not the totality of Man's journey on Earth, his destiny, his reaction to common events and other happenings around him, his beliefs, his sense of who he is and where he is going? The First Chapter of the study serves as the introduction of the thesis. It explores the meaning of the imaginary, reviews different opinions of philosophers and physicists on reality, as well as documents on the stand of several critics on the works of the author. Furthermore, this premier chapter gives the scope of the study, the aptness of the methodology in use, the rudiments of the method of investigation, the plan of the study and finally the technical vocabulary of the study. The Second Chapter surveys the network of symbols and images in the novels, putting them into their semantic groupings and establishing in that way an Initiatory Structure which encompasses a Time Structure and a Synthetic structure. Above all, this second chapter serves as the subject of chapters three to five. Chapter Three deals with the preparatory storage of the neophyte's departure for his spiritual and psychological quest. Chapter Four is on his adventures proper, his travails and tribulations as he journeys through nations of the world. Chapter five sees his "Rebirth" at the final stage of the spiritual and psychological attunement. Chapter Six is both a conclusion and a synthesis of the contents of Chapters One to Five. This final chapter posits the philosophical and moral values of the study. By extension, it is also a convergence of many of the previous criticisms of Camara Laye. From this study, it would seem that Camara Laye's message to Man in the World, in the face of the oppressive present, is a return to the primordial tradition, to the pre-reflexive intuitive era before the Tower of Babel. That period of great human understanding appears possible in the twentieth century-amidst ills of racism, discrimination of all nature, apartheid, materialism, bigotry, promiscuity, irreligiosity, drugs-only by man's fidelity to amoral code to ethics.