Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Mystery in Sepedi Detective Stories/die Raaisel in Sepedi Speurverhale

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Mystery in Sepedi Detective Stories/die Raaisel in Sepedi Speurverhale

Article excerpt


Mystery in Sepedi detective stories

The aim of this article is to illustrate the importance of the concept "mystery" in the classification of Sepedi detective stories. Mystery is therefore first defined, and then some rules governing how mystery is created and sustained in a narrative are reviewed. Examples are given of how the writers of Sepedi detective stories mislead their readers in order to create mystery. Mystery is then examined according to five of its constituent elements, namely the real character of the detective, the name of the criminal, the identity of the victim, the evidence that reveals the mystery in the end, and the investigation that reveals the mystery. Each category is explored by citing relevant examples from Sepedi detective stories.

Key concepts:

character: detective detective stories evidence that reveals the mystery identity: victim investigation that reveals the mystery mystery name: criminal


Die raaisel in Sepedi speurverhale

Die doel van hierdie artikel is om die belangrikheid van die konsep "raaisel" in die klassifikasie van Sepedi speurverhale te illustreer. Die raaisel word eers gedefinieer en daarna word 'n oorsig gegee van die reels wat die skep en voortbou van die raaisel onderle. Voorbeelde word verskaf van hoe Sepedispeurverhaalskrywers lesers doelbewus mislei om daardeur raaisels te skep. Die raaisel word vervolgens bestudeer aan die hand van vyf onderliggende elemente, naamlik die ware karakter van die speurder, die naam van die misdadiger, die identiteit van die slagoffer, die bewyse wat daartoe lei dat die raaisel aan die einde ontrafel word en die ondersoek wat die raaisel aan die lig bring. Elke kategorie word ondersoek deur die verwysing na gepaste voorbeelde uit Sepedi-speurverhale.


bewyse wat die raaisel ontrafel identiteit: slagoffer karakter: speurder naam: oortreder/misdadiger ondersoek wat die raaisel ontrafel raaisel speurverhale

1. Introduction

A review of the relevant literature shows that thus far only eight researchers and literary theorists have attempted to analyse Sepedi detective stories, namely Mahole (2002), Mojalefa (2001), Magapa (1997), Machiu (1995), Groenewald (1993b), Mampuru (1986), L.L. Mphahlele (1984) and Serudu (1984).

Mahole (2002) emphasises the structure of the Sepedi detective story, while Machiu (1995) examines the characteristic features of a Sepedi detective story, namely exposition, development, climax, and denouement. Magapa (1997) compares two of Lebopa's detective short stories, and L.L. Mphahlele (1984) compares Tshipu e rile ke lebelo (1962) by D.N. Moloto and Lenong la Gauta (1982) by H.D.N. Bopape. Serudu (1984) and Mampuru (1986) both describe the relationship between setting/milieu and characters. Groenewald (1993b) and Mojalefa (2001) briefly investigate the classification of Sepedi detective stories.

Thus, to date, no thorough investigation of mystery in a detective story in Sepedi has been made. Therefore, this article focuses on the use of mystery in Sepedi detective stories.

2. Mystery in a detective story

Mystery is an important feature of detective stories, and before it can be examined it must be carefully defined. Various literary theorists have attempted to describe the concept of mystery. Turco (1999:59) says that mystery focuses on the suspense and tension present in a detective story. This suspense arises because the reader of the story wants to know how the conflict evident between the protagonist and antagonist is going to be resolved; this conflict has a mysterious cause, and so for the conflict to end, the mystery has finally to be revealed. Boileau and Narcejac (1964:8) note that the aim of the investigation depicted in a detective story is to solve a mystery (usually a crime) that seems impossible to solve at the beginning of the story. …

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