Descriptive Focus as a Semiotic Marker in Festus Iyayi’s Violence

Godwin Oko Ushie, Eno Grace Nta


Descriptive Focus is a technique of rendering fiction whereby (mock) reality is constructed vividly and graphically through the descriptive power of portrayal. A prose writer using this style may zoom his lenses on certain episodes and characters to foreground areas of interest that contribute significantly to the understanding of the theme of the works. Descriptive Focus or Focalization, therefore, not only yields stylistic meaning, but also provides a means of deciphering the ideational dimension of a text. In the novel, Violence, focalization on the squalour, destitution and pitiable conditions of the poor masses is so pictorially captured with typified visual, tactile, gustatory, olfactory, auditory and kinaesthetic images that we are tempted to regard the work as faction. Contrastively, Iyayi portrays the upper class as rich and comfortable and reeling in surfeit while the poor who provide this comfort wallow in want. This paper analyzes this text-forming strategy and reaches the conclusion that the descriptive focus itself is a semiotic marker or a code in developing the ideational content of the novel and in and deciphering same by the audience. This evocative power of graphic description reinforces the themes in the novel.

Key words: Descriptive focus; Ideation; Semiotic marker; Typification


Descriptive focus; Ideation; Semiotic marker; Typification


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