The use of language and style in the works of two kenyan playwrights
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Stylistics criticism is based on the study of style as used in literary expressions and their effects on the audience. It attempts to establish principles capable of explaining the particular linguistic items and choices made by an individual author in his/her work of art in an attempt to bring about certain meanings in the society as well as foreground certain issues that affect society. The thesis of this paper is that both the formal and informal elements deployed by most of the Kenyan playwrights contribute to the dramatization of issues of social concern. As such, the paper examines how metaphor as a style is used to dramatize the metaphors of power in the 21st century Kenyan society. The study delimited itself to two plays, namely Inheritance by David Mulwa and The Hunter is Back by Dennis Kyalo. The study engaged Sociological theory and Stylistic criticism to investigate its concerns. The study was library based owing to the textual nature of both its primary and secondary sources. Therefore, a close reading of both primary texts and secondary sources was done. The stylistic features employed by the playwrights include imagery, symbolism, proverbs and wise sayings. These devices have been carefully used to demonstrate how power is exercised and transformed for good and for bad – depending on who is wielding it in society. Due to the informative impact of the two plays, it is recommended that the Ministry of Education, the Kenya Literature Bureau and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development should also review and adopt these plays for studies in literature in secondary and primary schools in Kenya.
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