Becoming a Subject: Developing a Critical Consciousness and Coming to Voice in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah

Anja Oed (Hg.): Reviewing the Past, Negotiating the Future: The African Bildungsroman (2015)

12 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2016  

Stefanie Reuter

Humboldt University of Berlin

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

In Americanah Adichie traces the learning process which leads to a critical consciousness regarding race and her own position as a Black woman through the character of Ifemelu. By describing the life of a central character who grapples with her social surrounding and thereby develops an active consciousness and reflectivity, the novel stands in the tradition of the bildungsroman. In the following analysis of the novel, I will trace the bildungs-process of the female protagonist Ifemelu by focusing on the central elements of coming to voice and the development of a critical consciousness regarding the categories of race and gender. Of the many motifs that constitute this process in Americanah, I want to concentrate on hair as one of the most blatant elements and on the negotiation of normative language.

Keywords: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah, Bildungsroman, intersectionality, coming to voice, subjectivity

Suggested Citation

Reuter, Stefanie, Becoming a Subject: Developing a Critical Consciousness and Coming to Voice in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah (2015). Anja Oed (Hg.): Reviewing the Past, Negotiating the Future: The African Bildungsroman (2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2808396 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2808396

Stefanie Reuter (Contact Author)

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, AK Berlin 10099
Germany

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