International Journal of English Literature and Culture

International Journal of English Literature and Culture

Vol. 3(4), pp. 96-106, April, 2015

 ISSN: 2360-7831

DOI: 10.14662/IJELC2014.083

Review Paper

“Words Made Flesh” A Formalist Reading of Helon Habila’s Waiting for an Angel


*1Asika, Ikechukwu Emmanuel, 2Ifechelobi, Jane Nkechi and 3Akabuike Ifeoma Grace


1Department of English, Anambra State University, Igbariam. Email: asikaikechukwu@yahoo.com.

2Department of English, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

3Department of English, Anambra State University. Igbariam. E-mail: Ifyakabuike2014@gmail.com


Accepted 27 April 2015




Formalism is one of the literary approaches of the twentieth century. It is a critical approach that emphasizes on a close reading of a text, the literariness of a text and not on something external. The approach demands for a close reading of a text and it is interested and appeals to the highest points and factors that make a work of art ’literary’ in all ramification. Formalism provides for a reader, a way to understand and enjoy a work for its own inherent value as a piece of literary art. This approach emphasizes on close reading of a text in order to decipher the literariness of the work and nothing more. By emphasizing on close reading of a text itself, formalist critics place all attention and focus on the text as literature. A literary work from the view point of formalist critics is a piece on its own which is capable of its own meaning and significance in isolation of the society and several social issues that may have given birth to the work of art. This paper attempts a formalist reading of Helon Habila’s Waiting for an Angel. The idea is to enquire on the literariness of the work and to highlight on the peculiar parts ranging from the narrative techniques, diction, point of view and other intricate elements that make the novel an interesting literary piece. The paper concludes on how these techniques were richly harnessed and explored by the writer and how they combined effectively to contribute to the success of the literary piece and how these elements serve as keys to unlocking hidden textual meanings in the novel.

Keywords: Formalism, Literariness, Techniques, Diction, Style, Characterization, Criticism, Literary Appreciation


Cite This Article As: Asika IE, Ifechelobi JN, Akabuike IG (2015). “Words Made Flesh” A Formalist Reading of Helon Habila’s Waiting for an Angel. Inter. J. Eng. Lit. Cult. 3(4): 96-106



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