Nafasi ya fani katika kufanikisha maudhui katika fasihi ya watoto
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Literature as an aspect of Kiswahili language has been subdivided into various genres. One of the genres is children’s literature. This genre is unique in terms of style, stylistic features and themes. Even though there are several research in this genre, there was evidence of a research done on styles and themes together. This is why this research aimed at investigating how authors of Kiswahili children’s literature have structured their works by employing various stylistic features to reveal children-targeted themes. In order to fulfill this, the following objectives guided the study: to classify various stylistic features used in children’s literary books; to discuss various themes in the selected books and finally, to evaluate how the various stylistic features used by the authors successfully convey themes in Kisasi Hapana by Ken Walibora, Nimefufuka by Rebecca Nandwa, Sitaki Iwe Siri by Bitugi Matundura and Wema wa Mwana by Nuhu Bakari. This research was guided by Structuralism Theory propounded by Ferdinand de Saussure (1916). Structuralism Theory explains the relationship that exists between one element and the other and how various parts make one complete element. Guided by this theory, literature was taken as a whole element made of several themes and stylistic features. At the second level, stylistic features is a complete element which consists of proverbs, tropes, imagery, pictures and symbolism. These stylistic features were identified and their role explained. Themes and sub themes on the other hand were also taken as a complete element. The relationship between stylistic features and themes in building literary work was investigated through data analysis. This was a library research that involved critical analysis of texts that were purposively sampled. Data was collected by in-depth reading of the texts in order to understand, identify and note down the various stylistic features and themes. The stylistic aspects that were identified were proverbs, tropes, imagery, pictures and symbolism. On the other hand, the themes that were identified were family, conviction, discipline, importance of a name, education, hard work, sickness, death and the place of women in the society. We eventually showed how the stylistic features identified help in building the said themes and the outcomes were presented qualitatively. This research will be useful in critiquing children’s literature, will be beneficial to writers of children’s literature by helping them see strengths and weaknesses of their works, teachers and learners can see themes and stylistic features analysed and curriculum experts can use information in this research in choosing books for children. All stake holders in children literature can be persuaded by this research to read the children books analysed in this research and research more on them. In so doing this research will help in improving children literature.
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