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
Date Written: 2015
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
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