This investigation looks on how Setswana short story writers depict female characters in short stories as compared to their male counterparts. Four methods are employed in this study, namely: definition, interpretation, comparison and classification, to cast light on the problems of depiction of female characters. An adapted narratological model was considered most suitable for this study. In this model, when content is discussed, topic is emphasized, when plot structure is analysed, theme is highlighted and when style is examined, atmosphere is of paramount importance. Vital concepts related to the portrayal of female characters are (a) author, (b) text structure, (c) character, (d) womanism and (e) feminism. Discussions of the concept of the author tend to fall into two groups, namely: the real author and the author of the text. This second group, is also subdivided into three classes, which are biolographical, implied and abstract authors. The author as a person is the originator of the events, which are obviously related to the depiction of female characters. A biographical author is connected to real events, which are then used to describe female characters. An abstract author in this study is taken to mean the same as an implied author, because both types of voice disclose the information of the real author in the depiction of female characters. This information is the events through which female characters are portrayed in Setswana short stories. The structure of the text is examined as divided into three strata, namely: content, plot structure and style. Content is discussed as the events which will make up the plot have not been arranged by the author yet, that is are there before the text is written. This content layer has four elements, namely: events, characters, time and space, which are united into one unit by the topic. This topic controls all these elements. Plot structure is then the way in which the author as originator of the events arranges them. In the plot structure the four elements of the content are allocated different functions which revolve around one theme only. Analysis of plot structure is very important because it is where events related to female characters are arranged. Style is defined as a way in which an author uses language to expose his female characters when writing his short stories. The short story is divided in this study into two major types, namely: stories that simply inform and stories that entertain. Description of both types of short stories is given equal attention because the portrayal of female characters in many Setswana short stories is the aim of this examination. Character is the next concept examined in this study. Characters can be any of four types, namely: (a) content characters, (b) plot structure characters, (c) flat characters and (d) round characters. Content and plot structure characters differ in function in the plot. The distinction between flat and round characters lies in the manner in which they are described. These distinctions are important because this research focuses on female characters in the presentation selected Setswana short stories. Female characters can be portrayed by the author himself/herself, the narrator, the character himself/herself and/or by other characters. In these Setswana short stories female characters are usually portrayed as having no rights, which reflect all the mistakes made by people though not admitted by society in general. The portrayal of female characters can be approached using several categories, namely: womanism, experimental phase and feminism. Thus, analysis of selected Setswana short stories unravels how Setswana short story writers depict female characters, whether as womanists, women of the experimental phase or as feminists. Thus, this study divides the selected Setswana short stories into three groups, namely: stories of phase of womanism, stories of experimental phase and stories of phase of feminism, to find out whether depiction of female characters belong to only one of these three themes or to more than one. Stories of phase of womanism The study gives an investigation of womanism: Distinguishing characteristics related to womanism are: -- oppression and ill-treatment of female characters; -- discrimination and segregation of female characters; -- ignorance of female characters; -- the fact that female character should be beaten when they have done something wrong; and -- restriction of the role of female characters to taking care of their own families and the extended family. Setswana short story writers who write about womanism include Chikane ('Mafaratlhatlha a botshelo'and 'Sego sa metsi'), Magoleng and Ntsime ('Khutsana and 'Lerato le eseng lona'), Shole ('Seteropo ke sa gago' and 'Tlogela ngwanake'), Malope ('Le fa o ka e buela lengopeng…' and 'O nkutlwe') and Sikwane ('MmaModiegi'). These short story writers portray female characters living traditional lives even through events which address the issues of feminism. This vividly indicates that although life changes, women`s lives remain static, according to these Setswana short story writers. Stories of phase of feminism Feminism is the next concept explored by this study. The outstanding features which have been discovered in feminism attempts to: -- eradicate oppression of female characters; -- fight for equality amongst women and men in all spheres of life; -- remove segregation of and discrimination against female characters; and -- change the whole society. Setswana short story writers whose work explores the above aspects include Sikwane ('MmaModiegi'), Shole ('Seteropo ke sa gago' and 'Tlogela ngwanake’), Chikane ('Sego sa metsi') and Malope ('Bodiba jo bo jeleng ngwana `a mmaago…' and 'O nkutlwe'). These short story writers emphasize a change in the lives of female characters, describing the fight for equality for all so that each person becomes liberated. Stories of experimental phase Finally, this study examines the experimental phase which shares with both womanism and feminism. Setswana short story writers of the experimental phase intertwine these two approaches when they write their short stories. Features that are identified in both womanism and feminism are: -- the freedom of female characters; -- the liberation of the whole society; -- agreement on marriage and -- working together as a team to solve the problems of society. Malope is shown to be a Setswana short story writer who mixes womanism and feminism. What Malope stresses is that often female characters do not know where they stand, whether they belong to womanism or feminism, and so they end up living a double life.
Thesis (DLitt (African Languages))--University of Pretoria, 2007.