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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Just when we thought we were producing fine young men : original research

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract

Literature is highly influenced by society and cultural contexts in which it is produced or read. It is a reflection of how a particular society constructs reality. The values, beliefs and norms transferred from one generation to another reflect, in the main, that society's way of life. When creative writers use verbal art forms like novels, short stories or drama, they do so in order to create an allusive and fictitious setting which enable them to comment on contemporary issues without blatantly seeming to do so. In this sense it becomes a prerogative for artists to remark on what is happening in communities without being directly confrontational. In our view, it is also their responsibility to approach literature from an angle that reflects changing times, thus challenging anything that is contrary. In 2013 we involved our final year undergrad literature class in a project whose aim was to sensitize them on gender disparities still affecting our society today. Five of nine groups comprising ten students each - both men and women - chose to study the work of an acclaimed Zulu writer, D.B.Z. Ntuli (1982). Based on the comments of the male students in those groups the discussion was stretched to the entire class. It was perturbing to discover that we are still producing male students who are not sensitive to gender disparities. In this article we argue that indifference displayed by these young men where issues of gender were concerned call for attention. This article presents the callous treatment of women characters in the selected short story and examples of comments made by male students on their reading of the text. We also contend that we are still far from reaping the fruits of our hard-won democracy given that Zulu men in the study still seems to lack an understanding of basic human rights. Their failure to understand obvious gender-based violence as an intolerable social ill.

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/content/literat/37/1/EJC189674
2016-01-01
2016-12-11

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