The topic of this paper is the one who tells a story and the perspective from which s/he tells it is central to the way a story constructs meaning. Discuss this relationship between narrative perspective and meaning in the following work: The Xala. Some questions to consider: Who is the narrator(s) and how is s/he positioned in relation to the story s/he tells? Is s/he a character in the story or does s/he appear to be outside it? Are we encouraged to identify with the narrator and / or believe his/her version of events? Or does the text suggest limits to the narrator’s point of view and reasons for questioning his/her reliability? What seem to be the narrator’s values and/or biases? How do these influence your understanding of the story? In short, how does the narrator’s identity, use of language, and point of view contribute to the meaning or your interpretation of the story?
The Xala is a novel written by Ousmane Sembne.
Focused and thoughtfully developed essay that engages closely with the text(s). There is no right or wrong answer here; there are only strong arguments and weak arguments. In this context, a strong argument is one that is focused on a central idea or claim, and is developed through careful attention to the details of the texts. It avoids gross generalizations, unsubstantiated claims, and excessive plot summary, but it doesnt shy away from the complexities of the texts and the risks involved in entertaining them the result is typically a more interesting essay. If you choose one of the above topics, you should not respond to each of the questions as if this were an exam. The questions are there to get you thinking and to help you focus your thoughts. Its of course quite possible that you will address in your essay each of the questions Ive posed under a given topic; but the point is that this is an essay, not an essay exam.
Write as if your reader is familiar with the work(s)
Wherever possible, write in the present tense when writing about a literary text.
Avoid the use of you in formal essay writing.