Styles and Stylistic Devices - Fathers of Nations

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Stylistic devices in Fathers of Nations

Styles in Fathers of Nations



This is the most dominant style in the text. It is a direct conversation between two or more characters, a conversation between two different groups of people, or a conversation between an individual and a certain group of people in the text. It has mainly been used to activate and dramatize several conflicts in the text.

  • There is dialogue between the guide (Mr. Abiola) and the four strangers who check in at the Seamount Hotel in Banjul. (Professor Kimani, Pastor Chiamaka, Comrade Melusi, and Tahir) as he gives them the directives from AGDA. (Pgs, 2, 16, 19).
  • There is dialogue between the journalist, Ms. McKenzie, and the guide, Dr. Afolabi, whereby Fiona calls Dr. Afolabi for the interview. (Pg4 -7)
  • A dialogue happens between Tuni and her dad, Professor Kimani; in it, he tells her about MPs. (Pg 23).
  • Asiya and her husband, Prof. Kimani, have a dialogue as she tells him of her resolution to marry Newborn Walomu. (Pg 33)
  • There’s dialogue between the MP Walomu and Prof. Kimani when Kimani confronts him about marrying his wife, Asiya Omondi. (Pg 37)
  • Tad Longway and Prof. Kimani engage in dialogue as Tad tries to convince Prof. to join AGDA. (Pg 39)
  • Dialogue happens among Leo, Fiona, and Dr. Afolabi. In this dialogue, Dr. Afolabi rescues Fiona and takes her to his room at the Seamount Hotel. (Pg 59).
  • A dialogue ensues between Tad Longway and Dr. Afolabi about his address at the Foundation for the Democratic Rule when Longway has come to talk to him about acting as a guide to Path Alpha. (Pg 73) 
  • There is a dialogue involving Issa, Pamela, and Dr. Afolabi about his new wife from the village, who had been brought by his cousin Femi to help Dr. Afolabi bear children since his wife doesn’t want to have children. (Pg 75).
  • Comrade Melusi and Tad Longway engage in a dialogue in which Melusi tells Longway how he fought for freedom in Zimbabwe. Longway has come to convince Melusi to join AGDA. (Pg 99) 
  • There’s a dialogue between Tad and Chiamaka over the phone about joining AGDA. (Pg 116)
  • Tad and Seif Tahir dialogue about the latter’s joining AGDA as they talk more about the history of Libya (page 124).
  • Fiona and Longway via phone call at the Seamount Hotel's booth.( There's a dialogue between Tad and Chiamaka over the phone about joining AGDA. (Pg 116)
  • Tad and Seif Tahir dialogue about the latter's joining AGDA as they talk more about the history of Libya (page 124).
  • Fiona and Longway through a phone call at the booth of the Seamount Hotel. (Pg. 134) and on (Pg. 137) over a drink at the Seamount Hotel.
  • Dr. Afolabi and Fiona dialogue in the latter’s room at the Seamount Hotel; Afolabi confirms that he is the guide. (Pgl 39)
  • There’s dialogue between Dr. Afolabi and the other presidents at the summit. (Pg154). In this dialogue, where he invites his counterparts to talk about Path Alpha, Bangoura dialogues with the congregants at the summit as he leads them in making a choice between Path Alpha and Way Omega. (Chapter 140).

Rhetorical Questions

These are questions asked to make a point or create a dramatic effect. They do not require answers since they are used to persuade or to pause.

  • Page 5, "One minute, five minutes—where is the difference?" 
  • Pg. 10: "All looked happy, and why not?" 
  • Pg. 63: Why do people like to tell lies?
  • Pg. 75 Lees, now drop this gibberish for a while, okay?
  • Pg. 78...and who said she despises children?
  • Pg87… what freedom and what work?
  • Pg. 103...had the man not taken it there?
  • Page 4; and, in the process, signing his own death warrant?
  • Pgl. 17. "Had he not closed down all foreign militaries?" Then, had he not nationalized all foreign business in the country?
  • Pg. 120 — "Who has not at one time or another misinterpreted a kind word from a friend?"
  • Pg. 150 — Wasn't it invented by the world's best and brightest twenty, each a Nobel laureate?
  • Pg. 173... how could he answer a question he had not heard and was determined not to hear?
  • Pg. 182... has the trick not saved the day? Had it not eliminated the need for the consensus he could not achieve?


This is a flashback to an earlier event that provides crucial information to the main plot.It is a situation in which the author uses a scene from a time before the main story to connect with the events of the main story.It is used here to help us understand better the present-day elements and learn more about the characters.

A flashback is also used to reveal the emotional struggles of the characters in the text, as well as the insights of the character's actions.

There is the use of flashback in chapter two about the life of Professor Kimani: his education journey, how he married Asiya, how he lost his only daughter Tuni to a road accident, and how his marriage fell apart.

Through it, we also learn how he fought with an MP, landing him behind bars.

This clearly tells us why he is where he is now: seeking justice and fighting for a change.

There is the use of flashback in the conversation between comrade Melusi and Tad Longway, where comrade Melusi talks about him and their leader fighting Smith in search of independence, and through this we realize the origin of his name "comrade."

We also get to learn through flashbacks how Comrade Melusi lost his wife Ziliza during Gukurahundi, which erupted due to the anti-government unrest in southern Zimbabwe. (Pg 90-92).

There is the use of flashback in chapter 8, which tells us clearly how Pastor Chineke Chiamaka started preaching back then, how he developed his preaching career, and how he lost it and landed behind bars: "He preached everywhere: indoors, in the strict privacy of a house, or in the limited publicity of a church." (Pg. 109).

The flashback takes us way back to when he had a church of his own with a welcoming bulletin in the church entrance reading "God is Watching You," and how he would make his sermons witty and persuasive up until he mentions the undoing of the government in his pulpit, which changed his life for the worst by landing him in prison. (Pg 115).

The educational ability of Engineer Seif Tahir has been brought out in the text through a flashback. He had returned from abroad during the leader's 20th year in power, and he described how he had supported him and even joined "The Fist of Allah" until Al Qaeda struck and changed his mind.

Flashback is also used by the author to tell us how Engineer Tahir lost his eye when he was served revenge by one Rahmah Mahmoud, with whom he had fallen in love, yet she did not respond to his expectation, leading to endless vengeance between them and finally costing both of them their eyes. (Pg122)

Through flashback, we learn that Dr. Afolabi and his wife Pamela do not have children of their own.

This is clearly brought out in chapter 5, where we learn how Femi, Dr. Afolabü's cousin, was sent to bring a second wife to Dr. Afolabi since he and Pamela did not have children.

This ends his marriage with Pamela.

Vivid Description

This is a technique for giving the audience a very detailed and clear mental image of an event, a character, or a situation in the text.

It is a style used to appeal to the senses of the audience and therefore makes them feel as if they are exactly at the spot where the author is describing.

She was wearing a scarlet blouse, a black skirt, and red heels. (Fiona) Pg. 4: "she had her mother’s eyes and the wings of an imported butterfly, pure black in the middle and pure white at the margins." (Tunisia eyes) Pg24.

(Pg 32) describes Asiya's behavior when she wanted to leave Prof. Kimani for Newborn because Prof had become poor.If he did as much as appear to touch her, she jumped back and shrank away. When he was near enough, he swung a fist. He missed... (Pg. 37) the fight between Mr. Newborn and another Prof. Kimani, which has clearly been described here. Fiona's legs began to kick wildly, scissoring the air in frantic strokes...(Pg 58, 59).

The events leading up to the accident and the accident itself have been described on pages 107 and 108. He could begin his sermon now. the manner in which pastor Chiamaka would begin his sermon.Big white teeth and big purple gums...Rahmalf's face as she smiles Her left cheek was capable of a dime (Pg 120).

You will find me standing near the phone. I am wearing white shoes and a red dress with white polka dots. Fiona describes her dress code to Tad Longway (Pg 130).

The appearance of King Jemba Jemba is the result of a strange practice that allows even the most unattractive kings to marry beautiful women... gorgeous physique, gorgeous smile...(pg 163)

Story within a story

This is where a character within the story becomes the narrator of a second story.

It's mainly used to reveal the truth of the inner story.

The story of the donors ganging up on Africa, told by Prof. Kimani to his only daughter Tuni, is a good example. (Pg 22).

Another example is the story of Dr. Afolabi and his wife arriving home to find that Femi had brought a second wife to Afolabi so that he could have children of his own since Pamela did not want to have children with him. (Told by Afolabi) There's also a story told by comrade Melusi to Longway about the Gukurahundi who led to the loss of his wife Ziliza. (Pg. 91) Comrade Melusi tells a story to the visitor (Tad Longway) about how he fought side by side with his leader to defeat Smith and attain independence in Zimbabwe. (Pg 87).

In this style, Seif Tahir tells the story of how he fell in love with Rahmah, how he was rejected, and how his vengeance caused him to lose an eye.(Pg119)


This is a state of affairs that appears decidedly contrary to what one expects.

It is used by the author to cause a character to act out of ignorance of some truth, which the author is aware of. It's ironic for Asiya to compare her husband, who has worked hard all his life, to people like Newborn. (Pg26)

It is ironic for MPs like Newborn, who have a little education, to earn better salaries compared to professors like Kimani, who have even studied abroad in order to have a better life. (Pg30)

It is also ironic for Newborn to propose marriage to Asiya while she is still married to Prof. Kimani and since he already has three wives.

Further, Asiya is way older than him. (Pg 33)

There is irony in the fact that Prof. Kimani is handed a six-month jail term, yet he is the one who has lost everything. (Pg. 36)

It is ironic for the presidents to tell the police not to take bribes, yet they (the presidents) take even bigger amounts. (Pg41)

Irony plays out in the fact that Dr. Afolabi thinks it is safer to communicate through the phones he has given the four strangers at the Seamount Hotel than to use the hotel phone, yet the silent listener is able to hack their conversations. (Pg 55)

It is also ironic for the pastor to read political documents from the pulpit to his congregation. (Pg. 114)

It's ironic for Tahir to take Rahmah to court for losing his eye, yet he is the one who started the fight that cost him his left eye. (Pg 122)

It is ironic for Minister Zinto to thank their excellencies for being attentive, yet we know they were not. (Pg 152)

The presidents condemn troublemakers, but some are themselves troublemakers by being unruly. (Pg 171)

It is ironic for President Bangoura to be chosen to lead in the decision-making about Way Omega or Path Alpha, yet he has not read either of the documents and has sworn not to read them.

Use of Borrowed Language

It is used to maintain the authenticity of the words or phrases that might lose meaning if translated.

Use of Swahili phrase

  • "msitu mpya nyani wale wale."( Pg25)
  • Kazi kubwa ndogo pesa.
  • Na hivyo ndivyo ilivyo (Pg 35).

Comrade Mwelusi uses the shona language example;

  • "Simudzai mureza weZimbabwe" (Pg. 87), murambatsvina.(Pg 97)

Use of Ndebele: kalibusiwe izwe lezimbawe. (Pg 87)

Use of Arabic language sabah kher.(Pgl 19)

The use of French by President Bangoura...

  • "Merci, monsieur le president" (Pg 156)
  • Qu'est ce qui se passe? (Pg 178).


This is the use of irony to cause contempt.

Do you know what I am going to do? I am going to ask the guards I bribed to arrest me on my way back. (Pg. 48)

Yes, just as rain comes, water washes off the spots of a leopard. Prof. Kimani to his daughter Tuni (Pg. 25)

I just told you why: old is gold. Anyway, stealing is not that uncommon, you know... There are a lot of spouse thieves there, wouldn't you say? (Pg. 57)

Newborn to Prof. Kimani. "Let me call the media," Pastor Chiamaka said sarcastically. (Pg. 142)

I have a confession I wish to make. I want to confess that I have not read them and declare that I will never read them... President Bangoura to the members of the summit (Pg. 159)

Mr. chairman The resolutions, once adopted, do not have to be adopted again just because some sharp secretary somewhere has heard echoes... Way Omega. (Pgl. 59)

Imagery: Similes

This is a direct comparison of two different things using the words "like" and "as," both of which are used to describe something.

The author has used a lot of similes in the text, such as "he had a bushy moustache that, in a moment of speech, wriggled like a moth fighting to free its wings then fly away."

This has been used to describe Comrade Melusi’s moustache. (Pgl) This has been used to describe pastor Chineke Chiamaka: "he looked like a failed sumo wrestler." … cute as a button and sharp as a needle...

These are Abiola’s thoughts about Fiona’s. Pg. 5: "Her eyes were wide and white like a pair of moons." Newborn Walomu is described as "sluggish and groggy like a satiated python with a".

Pg 35...the youth craned his head up, sticking it out like a rooster about to crow,' describing Nick's expression when he saw Ms Mckenzie.Page 51: "..lingered on like the boom of a big drum," as used to describe the voice of Mr. Tad Longway.

Pg 75: "His voice tore through the restaurant's wall to wall silence like thunder," describing the voice of the visitor (Mr.  Longway); Pg 89: "stopping or swerving out of his way like water pausing or parting to let a Moses on wheels cross the red sea," which describes how Chineke Chiamaka drives.

Page 7, paragraph 119: "her big eyes were shining like light bulbs," referring to Rahmah’s eyes.

Page 144: "His belly hung over like a half-empty sack." Professor Kimani's face had wrinkled up like a dried prune."It was as smooth as a baby's face," says Minister Nzito on page 161.Imagery:


This is an indirect comparison of two things that is used to create a mental picture.

Tunisian eyes have been compared to the wings of an imported butterfly. (Pg. 24) "

...his voice (Tad’s voice) was a lion’s roar." Pg 38 …

The youth was a jargon-spewing buffoon.

Pg. 52...she had imagined it as an ugly monster. Pg 126

… His voice was all syrupy and honcy (Abiola Afolabü's voice). Pg 142

… A bird’s sip and a lion’s sip Pg 169

Imagery: Personification

This entails giving human abilities to non-humans. Examples include a dying old Toyota. (Pg. 29) couldn't tell what happiness was if it fell on your lap and cried out its name. Pg 33′

… Ms. McKenzie, meet your office. (Pg. 56)

This little fellow is used by comrade Melusi to refer to the needle. (Pg. 83)

Sunrise threw the heavens wide open over Banjul. (Pg. 82)

He consulted a wall clock. It told him 1:30. (Pg 86)

Meet the silent listener, who sat quietly at the far end of his office.(Pg. 126)

Mother Africa, it’s only a few minutes after sunset, but you’re so dark already! (Pg 168)


This is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.

Tuni symbolizes her place of conception.

Path Alpha symbolizes change and hope for the African country.

Way Omega symbolizes the old regime, which needed to be fought and changed.

The men at the summit symbolize the fathers of the nations.

The silent listener symbolizes the fastest-growing technology of 21C.

AGDA is used to symbolize the think tank of the people pushing for Path Alpha. (Pg 41)

Number 22 symbolizes the day the undisputed president of Gambia fell from power. (Pg 46)


These are the exact sounds produced by something.

The author also encourages the use of ideophones like ha.(Pg 33)

Bleep, bleep!...the sound of the machine at the store where Afolabi met his father-in-law. Pg 68)

Aaaah. (Pg 87)

Oh la la (Page 170)

Uh-uh (Page 130)


It entails differences in two or more entities.

It has been used to bring out the differences in people based on their physical appearance or situations in the text.

On page 101, the Nigerian president appeared more majestic in his sky blue robes than his Gambian counterpart in his white cotton.

Chiamaka’s observations. Path Alpha presses the bird into your hands when Way Omega offers you a bird in the bush. Pg 154 ‘


This is a way of making the audience laugh. Mainly used to break monotony or cheer up the audience, examples…

"Make that the church inside Africa," Mr. Longway added, and everyone laughed. Pg 147…

"We would still be here next year, admiring our hands if we could," the summit hall erupted once more. Pg  178…

Dear minister, you will make the same protest with equal vehemence when your way Omega wins. pg 178

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Read 23208 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 September 2023 07:51
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