Oroonoko became more widely read following Aphra Behn’s death. After that, the accuracy of the claims made by the narrator began to come under questioning. However, since Aphra Behn herself could no longer confirm the factuality of the accounts, it was taken to be that the narrator was Behn herself. Scholars have argued for years now regarding the factuality or fabrication of Behn’s work.
“While I believe the search for truth within Behn’s work is still a meaningful one, there is a need to revisit the motives and aims of that search, to contextualize Behn’s exploration of truth with respect to the period’s changing notions of truth’s relation to and representation of fact and fiction” (Dickson). Historically, the duplicity Oroonoko suffers at the hands of the white men is quite accurate keeping in mind the fact that many people, including princes were subjected to such a fate. Further, the time during which it was written was one of immense political unease in England. This too is reflected in the novel.
The central theme and the practices mentioned within the story might be considered, if not wholly, then to a certain degree, factual. From a literary standpoint, it can be seen that Behn has incorporated certain fictional elements into the work, along with a lot of emotion and sentiment, including love and sacrifice. It is this overlapping of facts and fantasies and history and literature that endows the novel with an influence to challenge the boundaries between these aspects. It is difficult to ascertain the exact genre under which the novel might be placed. It is not completely biographical, nor fictional.
It cannot simply be identified as a love story or a tragedy. Neither is it a historical account of events. It is a complex story that falls under each of these categories. But the fact that it is not based on a particular person, known to have existed for certain, perhaps constitutes it as a fictional novel. Works Cited Dickson, Vernon. “Truth, wonder and exemplarity in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko. ” (2007) <http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_hb3437/is_3_47/ai_n29374029/> Smith, Nicole. “Narrative Strategy and the Construction of Otherness in Oroonoko. ” (2010) < http://www. articlemyriad. com/186. htm>