Language and Style in Betrayal in the city - Cross Purpose

Cross purpose is a style used in reference to individuals talking about different things in the course of their conversation without realizing it.

The first incident of cross purpose is when Doga, Nina and Jusper appear not to communicate and their statements overlap.

When Jusper is at cross purpose with Doga and Nina. Jusper appears not to communicate with his parents and their statements overlap.

When Jusper is referring to a murder he committed at night, his mother thinks that he imagines killing his father.

Doga tells Nina not to detain Jusper and instead allow him to go for he is a nuisance.

Jusper responds, “he can’t go he is dead’ (pg 6) Jusper is referring to Adika;s murderer (Chagaga) while his mother means that Doga is dead.

Jusper and Nina also speak in cross purpose on (pg 7) when Jusper asks “…shall I go and confess idid it?” to which Nina answers “yes my son, go and put on a clean shirt and then you can confess” Nina thinks Jusper is talking about the ceremony whereas Jusper is talking about confessing that he had killed Chagaga.

Mosese and Jere talk at cross purpose. (pg 30-31) While Mosese in his reverie, seems to be talking to imaginary persons. Jere’s questions punctuate his reverie. In his attempt to understand Mosese’s talk, he finally concludes,

When the madness of an entire nation disturbs a solitary mind, it is not enough to say the man is mad. (pg 33).

  • Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga

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