Analyzing Dislocated Nigerian Identities in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Purple Hibiscus" and Chigozie Obioma's "The Fishermen"
The concept of identity has varied facets. It is not a static concept but something that is constantly undergoing change. It is through identity that we define or understand ourselves and the world around us. The idea of a national identity for a newly independent post-colonial nation involves a negotiation between the old and the new, and the product is not simply a homogeneous copy of either, but a hybrid mix of both cultures. In this paper, with the two primary texts Purple Hibiscus and The Fishermen set during tumultuous times of post-independence 80s and the political struggles for democracy in 1990s with the coming to age stories of both texts, these bildungsroman serve as a symbolic representation of Nigeria’s journey as an independent nation free of colonial hegemony. The background of erupting violence within the country in forms of military coup accompanied by a growing instinct of mimicking the colonizer’s culture reflects how a new identity was being developed. In this respect, my research aims to use Homi Bhabha’s concept of ‘mimicry’ and ‘hybridity’ to analyse how this new Nigerian identity is a product of the colonized subject’s mimicry of colonial culture and their negotiations with the pre-colonial traditions. Henceforth, the result is not exactly a duplicate copy but something different. The two secondary readings “Revolutionary Politics” and Poetics in the Nigerian Bildungsroman: The Coming‑of‑Age of the Individual and the Nation in Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen and “Half and Half Children”: Third-Generation Women Writers and the New Nigerian Novel will help in identifying in this essay how the works of literature narratively represent this struggle of understanding the complex relationship between the self and the identity that is being formed. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in “The Dangers of a Single story” touches the question of what the identity of is oneself and how the dichotomy between the cultures of the colonizer and the colonized subject work towards establishing the definition of self and identity. This talk will help in analysing how the contemporary writers in Nigeria are using narratives and storytelling techniques in developing an identity for themselves.
The aim of this paper is to analyse how these contemporary literary works highlight and trace the development and negotiation of this new Nigerian identity where ideas of culture and religion appear displaced and tangled between the teachings of the fathers and the white man.
Keywords: Postcolonialism, Identity, Bildungsroman, hybridity.
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