DEMYSTIFYING “MYSTERIES” AND “MIRACLES” OF EXOTIC TECHNOLOGY: A STYLO-DISCOURSE AND CULTURAL EXAMINATION OF ASPECTS OF WOLE SOYINKA’S WRITINGS
Although Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate, has been studied extensively across disciplines, the stylistic, linguistic, literary and cultural values of his works continue to engage scholarly attention. His indebtedness to the Yoruba cultural background has been much discussed and analyzed in the literature. Analyzing aspects of Soyinka’s The lion and the jewel (1962), Kongi’s harvest (1962), Ake (1981) and Isara (1989), this paper examines the Yoruba ways of responding to exotic technological phenomena such as the railway, the radio and television, electricity, and the postal system. The people employ songs, jokes, humorous proverbs and circumlocutory euphemisms as ways of “demystifying” the “miracles” and “mysteries” associated with these novelties. The “mysteries” are also related to their spiritual and ritual practices. Once the exotic materials are reduced to songs and jokes, the Yoruba seem to have completed the rite of initiation into their culture. Relying on the principles of stylistics combined with those of Discourse Analysis, the paper analyzes the texts, revealing those Yoruba cultural habits, including their attitude to the spoken word.