Painting the state in the text
A pragmatic analysis of Remi Raji’s A Harvest of Laughters
Literary works across cultures are never written in a vacuum. They depict the reality of the society where they are set. With the societal obligation of the writers to serve as righters, especially in Africa, this study attempts a pragmatic inquiry of the state of the Nigerian society as implicitly and artistically painted in Remi Raji’s poetry collection, A Harvest of Laughters. The known literature on Remi Raji’s A Harvest of Laughters have analysed the collection mainly from literary and ideological perspectives. Attention has not been given to the collection from a pragmatic perspective, hence the intervention of this study. Drawing insights from Jacob Mey’s Pragmatic Acts Theory, the study analyses the pragmatic imports in the collection with fourteen (14) randomly selected excerpts across different segments of the collection constituting the data. Data was purposively selected from different poems in the collection. The findings show that the two major discursive issues in the text are the depiction of the government as cruel and the portrayal of the citizenry as victims. The former was conveyed through the practs of oppressing, embezzling and deceiving, while the latter was revealed through the practs of suffering and hoping. The study concludes that pragmatics is a valuable tool in the demystification of texts.
Keywords: Nigerian poetry, Remi Raji, A Harvest of Laughters , literature in society, pragmatic acts
Published online: 29 October 2021
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