From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Unveiling paths and patterns: a stylistic analysis of Chris Abani’s Song for Night

Gabriela Alexandra Banita


This article investigates the novella Song for Night (2007) by Chris Abani. Focusing on its form, an exceedingly understudied aspect of the work, I argue that, in contrast to a widespread humanitarian praxis, the novella problematises clear-cut binary oppositions. Such problematisation arises from the use of topoi of binarisms such as victim vs. perpetrator, physicality vs. spirituality and life vs. death, which are eventually dismantled. Thematic duality reverberates on the stylistic level, characterised by a tension between literal and figurative interpretation. Thus, readers must juggle what initially appears as antithetical concepts and implement mediation. By triggering this process, Song for Night opens readers’ eyes to complexity by criticising easy distinctions.


Song for Night, Chris Abani, stylistic analysis, binarism, humanitarian discourse



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