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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Narrative Technique In “Unexpected Joy at Dawn”

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In my previous post, I explained the creative use of language and style in Unexpected Joy at Dawn by Agyei-Agyiri.

We are able to detail the creative use of language by the author as well as how his mastery of figurative devices influenced his style of writing.

Here, however, we are going to dwell on the narrative technique used in the text in continuation of our literary analysis.

You may want to ask, why is it necessary to discuss the narrative technique in Unexpected Joy at Dawn?

It is a must for us to examine the narrative technique used by Agyei-Agyiri in this novel if we really want to understand the message the author is trying to pass across to the readers.

Now, let’s get into it!

Narrative Techniques in Unexpected Joy at Dawn

When we say “narrative technique” we mean the creative process by which the author presents his thoughts in the written form.

You will agree that every finished work of art–whether textual, staged or oral–is first conceived as an idea in the brain. Besides this, every story follows a unique narrative style.

So to explain the narrative techniques used in Unexpected Joy at Dawn, we are going to examine the writer’s point of view as well as the plot structure and motif deployed in the novel.

Point of view

Agyei-Agyiri narrates the chain of events in Unexpected Joy at Dawn using the Ominiscient point of view. This narrative technique involves the use of a narrator that does not play any role in the novel.

Despite his exclusion from the story as non-character, he knows everything about each character in the novel so that he details every needed information about the characters.

See also  Language and Style in "Unexpected Joy at Dawn" by Agyei–Agyiri

Also, through the omniscient eye of the narrator, the reader is able to read the minds of the characters in the story and also understand the chain of events storied in the text.

One thing however, amazes us in Unexpected Joy at Dawn, and that is how the author creatively tells the story by modifying the omniscient narrative technique.

He does so by deploying dialogue and allow the characters to express their opinions about certain issues discussed in the text. This means that the reader does not need to rely on the account of the narrator only because it could be biased.

See also  Creative Use of Language and Style in "The Lion and the Jewel"

With this, we are not wrong to say that this narrative technique in Unexpected Joy at Dawn thrives on objectivity as the narrator’s comment on the characters is limited by the interaction among the characters.

Plot Structure

The plot structure of Unexpected Joy at Dawn follows a parallel style of storytelling. The story is narrated based on incidents that happen concurrently at different locations.

For instance, parallel plot technique plays out when Nii leaves Ghana for Nigeria to search for his family after Massa’s death. Interestingly, Mama Ojoro whom he is to meet in Nigeria also travels to Ghana to go and look for Nii, her only brother.

Similarly, the two characters, Nii and Mama Ojoro are faced with one challenge or the other.

While Nii is poor and emotionally distressed due to his wife’s protracted illness and eventual death, Mama Ojoro is suffers trauma as a single woman without husband, though rich.

Using the same technique, Unexpected Joy at Dawn is set in two different spatial settings— Nigeria and Ghana where most parallel events in the story occur.

See also  Detailed Analysis of "The Lion and the Jewel" by Wole Soyinka

Generally speaking, Unexpected Joy at Dawn is a story with a thriller plot that is complete itself and shares a fascinating narrative.

Quest Motif

The author also uses the quest motif as part of the narrative techniques in Unexpected Joy at Dawn. This technique helps to develop the parallel plots mentioned earlier.

Speaking of Quest Motif, we mean a situation whereby a character embarks on a journey to find out clarity on a lingering issue. As we found in Unexpected Journey at Dawn, Nii and Mama Ojoro travel to and fro Nigeria and Ghana to reunite with themselves.

For instance, Mama Ojoro’s quest traverses both International and local routes such as Nigeria-Ghana, Accra-Koforidua, Koforidua-Sampa and Sampa-Accra. Nii’s case is not dissimilar, he also travels from Ghana to Nigeria with the hope of reuniting with his family members.

When he arrives in Nigeria, he also embarks on local travels. For example, he travels to and fro Lagos.

So to an extent, Agyei-Agyiri deploys the quest motif otherwise called the journey motif to detail pain and struggles as unavoidable experiences that people go through to accomplish their mission.


We have been able to examine the narrative technique of Unexpected Joy at Dawn. Here, we discussed the point of view as well as the parallel plot structure and quest motif used by the writer to develop the narrative.

See also  Detailed Analysis of "The Lion and the Jewel" by Wole Soyinka

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