Society of African Journal Editors

Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Ideational representation of prostitution and social meaning in Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street

Authors: Ikenna Kamalu, Blessing O. Ejezie

Journal: Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Previous studies on Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters’ Street (OBSS henceforth)  have focused mainly on the thematic concerns of the text – prostitution, sex  trafficking and sex slavery, without paying considerable attention to the role of language in the projection of the phenomena. This study critically examines ideation as a linguistic tool for inferring or retrieving the social meanings encoded in the text under study. This study also explores how the resources of language can be used in establishing social and power relations in discourse encounters and how their  manifestation in literary discourse represents social experiences in real life situations. Working within the tenets of M.A.K. Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), this study engages in the project of using insights from critical discourse analysis (CDA) and sociolinguistics to ascertain the mental and physical state of the victims of sex slavery, the attitude of their clients, and that of other powerful social actors that inhabit the creative universe of the text under  consideration. The significance of this study lies in its demonstration of how the writer’s linguistic choices bring about an understanding of the social experiences and ideology that underlie the text under study. Keywords : prostitution, sex trafficking, sex slavery, Nigeria, Chika Unigwe