A Comparative Study of First-Person Narrative Technique in Four Amharic Novels

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Addis Ababa University


The main objective rif this paper is to examine the first-person narrative technique. In fact, this technique is not seen used frequently by novel writers in general. According to the assessment rif this researche~Amharic, novels that shows this technique are few in number. Therifore, this stut/y takes this phenomenon as its very reason and research problem to be examined. To identify the causes why authors do not use frequently the first-person narrative technique in their works (novels), as well as to sort out the advantages and disadvantages rif this method rif story telling, this research has been made on four known Eth iopian authors' first-person novels. The writers are Negash i G/Mariam, Wondimu Negashi, Hailemelekot Mawale, and Bealu Girma. And their works are: Settegiiiia Adari, Enbutte Tsigerida, Yewedianesh and Oromav respectively. By reading these novels thoroughly, and comparing the talent rif each writer in using the firstperson narrative technique, an attempt has been made to distinguish and set out the causes, why authors do not used the technique frequently. Along with it, the advantages and disadvantages rif this technique are examined. As it is observed in this stut/y, the main reason for authors not to use first-person narrative techn ique frequently is the nature of the method. Its nature does not allow a free and a flexible movement for the authors to direct their stories as thry could. Of course, there is a narrator who stands as a person and tells the story; hence, there is no chance for the author to tell about the events and actions which are bryond the knowledge, vision and reach rif this narrator. Again the vision rif this narrator as well the technique is very limited. To overcome the limitations and to use the technique ejJectively, it is essential to draw properly the first-person narrator, or to use other narrative techniques in combination with thefirst-persoll narrative technique. As it is reviewed in this stut/y among the authors whose works are compared and examined here, Bealu Girola has applied other narrative techniques to alleviate the problem that his first-person narrator faces. Therifore, in his work a wavering rif point rif view is observed. He uses an omniscient paint rifview and narrator. By doing so, he could overcome the limitations that face his first-person narrator. In general from this study, certain major things have been learned and reached. The most important are these: when a story is presented in the first-person narrative technique, we need to draw the narrator properlY. Again, to over come the limitations that the first-person narrator faces a changing if point if views from one type (kind) to the other, or a combination if them (.firstperson + objective + omniscient etc.) is possible as Bealu Girnla does in his novel, Oromay. In fact, as it is shown in this research, to gain the advantages of the first-person narrative technique and to use it more iffectively, wavering if point if view is very important. Shiftingfrom one angle to the other enables one to tell a story, without limitations. Therefore Bealu's style if presenting a story with "mixed point of view" is recommended for Ethiopian writers to use. Ethiopian novel writers should develop and learn to use it since it is a flexible, attractive and vivid style.



Amha.ic Nowls