Avoid the Bait; Miss No Underlying Meaning: A Concise Textual Deconstruction of Achebe’s A Man of the People

  • N. H. Onyemelukwe Department of Languages, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria
  • W. E. Ibeana , C. O. Ogbechie Department of Languages, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria
Keywords: Chinua Achebe, Underlying Meaning, Text, Deconstruction, Discourse, Critical Discourse Analysis


From the perspective of Stylistics as a subfield of Instrumental Linguistics, texts may be writerly or readerly. Writerly texts are crafted such that they create room for multi-faceted deconstruction, whereas readerly texts only allow for restricted or determinate deconstruction. Literary texts, especially those with high academic or scholarly (intellectual) value such as A Man of the People (AMOP), are certainly writerly in nature. For this reason, AMOP is the reference text for the study. The objective of the study is to show that texts embody weighty textual messages more as underlying than as explicit meanings. The major theoretical framework of this study is Van Djiks model of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). CDA is criticalized Discourse Analysis (DA). In other words, CDA is DA done following the criticalist tradition. This tradition integrates DA with radical social and cultural theories for the purpose of unearthing implicit meanings and underlying ideologies. The data analyses and discussion in the study have evinced that a sentence or any stretch of utterance means much more than its literal significance (denotation). That is, a text especially a literary one like AMOP, embeds multiples of underlying meaning once it is deconstructed from proper contextual perspectives, which could be intratextual and/or extratextual. The underlying ideologies, together with other implicit meanings in a text, need to be captured, because they could represent the bait in the text that conspires against the interest of the reader. Hence, whoever reads a text is urged to miss no underlying meaning.

How to Cite
Onyemelukwe, N. H., & C. O. Ogbechie, W. E. I. ,. (2019). Unilag Journal of Humanities, 1(1), 15-28. Retrieved from http://ujh.unilag.edu.ng/article/view/237