Cohesion in English Biblical Narratives: A Study of ‘The Prodigal Son’

  • Babatunji Hezekiah Adepoju Department of English, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Keywords: Cohesion, narratives, text linguistics, texture, ties


Cohesion as a means of tying a text together to support the flow of its narrative has received the attention of narrators and researchers in linguistics. However, meaning is still often lost in many narratives owing to lack of cohesion. This paper examines the different methods that writers/speakers employ in making English narratives coherent. It points out reasons why many texts are considered disjointed/disorganized thereby making such texts lose the desired radiance. The objectives are to describe how meanings are worked out through cohesion and how cohesive devices employed as communicative tools in English narrative texts are determined. Drawing from Halliday and Hasan’s Cohesion in English, an offshoot of ‘textual metafunction’ in Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), the paper analyses ‘The Prodigal Son’ (King James Version) - one of the most recited narratives of the Christian scripture - to situate text, context, texture and grammatical concepts of ellipsis, reference (anaphora and cataphora), substitution (proforms), repetition (partial and full recurrence), subordination, coordination (conjunction, disjunction and contrajunction), etc. as the essential elements required in making a piece of writing coherent. Given the analysis of grammatical and lexical cohesion in the studied data, the paper provides evidence to show that the narrator employed adequate cohesive items to establish the narrative discourse as one united text through the interconnectivity of the various thematic preoccupations of the Christian literature. It concludes that the unity of a text is enhanced by adherence to appropriate usage of grammatical and lexical ties in English narratives.