Otherness In Elnathan John’s Bayan Layi, which made the shortlist for this year’s Caine Prize 

Didi Cheeka

No proper analysis of the stereotypical imagination at work in this short fiction is possible if it is not situated within a historical context. The chief weakness of academic aesthetics is its rejection of the social influences that shapes the production and consumption of works of art. Art, thus, becomes the “mystical” creation of an isolated individual, suspended above society, free from its moods and trends, independently giving expression to his or her imagination. This, of course, is a myth. The mere fact that an artist is unaware of these influences, or denies them outright, does not matter in the least.

The German philosopher, Leibnitz, once remarked that if the magnetic needle could think, it would be convinced that it pointed North of its own free will. So-called free will, Freud long ago proved,

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