Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Dynamics of Friendship in Selected Novels of Chinua Achebe and Isdore Okpewho

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Dynamics of Friendship in Selected Novels of Chinua Achebe and Isdore Okpewho

Article excerpt


This study is prompted by the urge to enhance the quality of friendship in life. The urge to enhance the quality of friendship in life emanates from the rampant abuse of the indispensable relationship. The focus of the study on friendship aims at highlighting positive friendship attitudes just as it targets to criticise and proscribe negative ones. This bipolar objective of the study is pursued for the purpose of conceptualising ideal friendship dynamics, and concurrently, improve the quality of friendship among people. Consequently, three novels each of Chinua Achebe (Achebe) and Isdore Okpewho (Okpewho) are x-rayed in the study to identify, explain and evaluate identified variants of friendship in them. From the stable of Achebe the following novels are purposively selected for the study: Things Fall Apart (TFA), Anthills of the Savannah (Anthills) and No Longer at Ease (NLAE), while from the canon of Okpewho these are selected: Tides, Call Me by My Rightful Name (CMBMRN) and The Victims (Thevics). The named novels are selected, because they are perceived to have unfolded such patterns of friendship which very much reciprocate real life friendships. Relying on the theoretical premise which explicates friendship as a sharing of love, the study has, by means of an analytical discussion of the friendship dynamics unfolded in the reference novels, shown that friendship in quasi broad taxonomical terms is either false or true. True friendship, noted in the study to be selfless and intimate, following Baconian notion of the concept, is friendship par excellence and as such anchors on St. Paul's notion of altruistic love by which it is conceptualised as a sharing of love between friends who could be homogeneous or heterogeneous, depending on their sex distribution which tallies or varies respectively. The practical implications of the foregoing major findings are that friendship, to be perpetual, thrives on mutual desirables, especially mutual counselling, chastisement, apology and forgiveness as situations may prompt and abominates betrayal, insincerity, dishonesty and redundancy. The pragmatic import of the major findings of the study is that humanity cannot do without sharing altruistic love as conceptualised by St. Paul in 1st Corinthians. 13: 4-13 which translates to universal friendship: love-anchored relationship in every sphere of life.

Keywords: friendship, dynamics, altruistic love, universal friendship, homogeneous, heterogeneous

1. Introduction

Basically conceptualised, friendship refers to a relationship between friends. This relationship operates in variant dimensions as indexed in the polysemous semantics of "friend" as a lexical item in English lexicon. Taking definitional clues from the international students' edition of Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary (p. 600), a friend means any of the following:

(a) a non-family member but a beloved acquaintance.

(b) a philanthropist who offers regular financial support to a charity organisation.

(c) an ideational or ideological collaborator.

(d) a mutual reference term for parliamentarians and legal practitioners.

(e) a Society of Friends member.

(f) a euphemistic metaphor for an offensive ideational or ideological opponent.

In pure pragmatic terms, a friend refers to (a) and (c) both of which are subsumed in (b) within an institutional context. Observe that (c) is not exclusive to (a) as to other foregoing definitions except (f) which is an ironical definition of the term, and therefore, antonymous to (a)-(e). Hence, for any two or more people, including siblings and other relatives, to be regarded as friends, each must be (c) to the others, meaning that they substantially share certain interests and opinions. It is in this sense that some relatives, close or distant, are seen not to be friends and vice versa.

In the light of the expository insights of the paragraph immediately before this (a) and (c) underpin our working notion of friendship in this study. …

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