Short Story

Topics: Narrative, Narrator, Fiction Pages: 7 (2482 words) Published: June 11, 2013

‘The short story lacks criticism and lacks form’. Justify this statement using any three stories from THE JAMBULA TREE AND OTHER STORIES. The short was said to lack both criticism and form. These are some of the many false accusations that were levelled against the short story. These allegations, coupled with several others, have been responsible for the attitude of critics towards the short story. Critics considered the short story to be an inferior kind and did not think that it would be proper for them to indulge in critiquing it. According to them, the short story was below the dignity. They therefore did not pay it critical attention. However, these accusations against the short story are false. It is very untrue to say that the short story lacks either of form or criticism. This is simply because saying the short story lacks form is equivalent to saying that the short story lacks style or patterning. This equally means that the short story has no underlying arrangement or a definite pattern. This is very untrue of the short story because evidence has shown that the short story can be arranged to come in a particular generic form such as comedy, tragedy, satire, and so on. Furthermore, the short story exhibits some peculiarities which make it a distinct form. Similarly, saying that the short story lacks criticism is equivalent to saying that the short story cannot impact on the reader or the society and cannot effect social change. This simply means that the short story has no relevance whatsoever. This is equally untrue of the short story because just like the Novel and other works of fiction, the short story portrays the society and draws out lessons for the reader to learn or points out issues of relevance. The only difference is in its method of portrayal. Furthermore, since the short story can take the form of a satire, this alone shows the relevance on the story to the society since satire is aimed at ridiculing ills in the society. These points will be further justified using the following selected stories from The Jambula Tree and Other Stories. 1. Jimmy Carter’s Eyes by E. C. Osondu

2. Night Bus by Ada Udechukwu
3. The Lost Boy by Kaume Marambii

Jimmy Carter’s Eyes by E. C. Osondu
The story is a tragedy. The theme of this story is the theme of selfishness and greed. The author tries to show what happens when people are selfish in exploiting gifts from God. The subject matter is historical. The author draws the story from the historical event of the American President, Jimmy Carter’s River Blindness Eradication Program. This informed his choice of the choice of title. The narration follows the chronological sequence. The narrative voice is the omniscient narrative voice. A notable feature of the story is the way the narration is done with mirror-like swiftness. The use of dialogue – Dialogue is used in the story to advance the plot. Also, dialogue is used to expose the double-sided, hypocritical nature of the characters. The language used in the story is the informal language. This creates a sense of familiarity with the reader and contributes to the realism nature of the story. CRITICISM

The central idea running through this story is greed and selfishness. Apart from the blind girl, all the actions in this story are done for selfish reasons. The mother’s refusal to take the girl for treatment when she was rich enough is a result of her selfishness and greed. However, she is quick to show her hypocritical nature by basing her reason on God: “People reminded the mother that she could now afford to take the child to the Baptist Missionary Hospital in the big city. The mother acted as if she did not hear them. She did not think it was wise to tamper with the will of God...” However, when she...
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