Philosophical Quest and Growing up Motif in Ambiguous Adventure by Chiekh Hamidou Kane and Dead Men’s Path by Chinua Achebe

Chigbu Andrew Chigbu, Ike Doris Ann Chinweudo, Chibuzo Martin Onunkwo


In literary tradition, some of the innovative and formative trends that characterise production and consumption of mimetic art in most third World countries of Africa focuses extensively on formation of the personal agents- specifically, the protagonist.This phenomenon has characterised most of the 21st Century texts and classed them under the literary sub-genre known as Bildungsroman. Bildungsroman is viewed primarily as a nineteenth-century literary phenomenon and the term is used so loosely and broadly that any novel – and even an epic poem like Iliad and Odyssey by Homer – that include elements of coming-of-age narrative might be labelled as a “Bildungsroman”.It is true that the type of novel commonly referred to as the “Bildungsroman” flourished in British literature in Victorian age, and was extremely popular among the realist writers. This accounts for early British publication of Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and others who employed the pattern, for their novels of character formation into the fictional model of the Bildungsroman literature; a genre that consists of the literary treatment of the process of development and formation of a character in relation to society. As it were, the variety of Philosophical Bildungsroman is an advance variant of Bildung that offers the necessary extension and complexity to the phenomenological literary concern of Martin Heidegger, who posits the philosophical experience of the individual as the “Dasine”. Dasien is Heidegger’s philosophical concept which means “being there”. As a concept in existential philosophy, Heidegger employs it to explain the very concept of personhood. The philosophical quest in this case is attained through the process of “unconcealment” meaning “the disclosure of truth”. Meanwhile, in rethinking Ambiguous Adventure and Dead Men’s Path as typical Bildung texts, the real unconcealment will be extricated from the “thingly character or the constitutive elements” (Poetry Language Thought, 54)of the protagonists, so as to determine, and have a clear vision and beauty of a (realist) representation of these agent (s) maturing in relation to the modern demands of society woven in universalistic model of growth and development via social background. Thus, ‘‘beauty becomes one way in which truth occurs as unconcealdness’’ (The Origin of the Work of Art, 55). This is because in philosophical Bildung, the attainment of successful maturation remains the object of our inquiry and concern, and this is framed within a large-scale diachronic model of human existence; who engages in the act of “thinking a thought, this kind of thinking concerns the relation of being to man” (Letter to Humanism, 1) and remains the prototype of a true Bildung character and texts understudy, namely: Ambiguous Adventure and The Dead Men’s Path. Therefore, this paper opens up a new pattern of thought by investigating philosophical quest and growing up motif in this two novels using Heidegger’s notion of dasien and unconcealment.


PhilosophicalBildungsroman, Dasien, Unconcealment, Formation, Will to Power

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