Deconstructing the ‘single story’: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah
Stories in literature and in mythology carry a unique ability to teach, admonish, and denounce while representing a way to fight against conventional images and ideas. This article analyses Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (2013) as a postcolonial coming-of-age story, which rewrites the stereotypical plot of romance and the male-female double Bildungsroman, from the perspective of two marginalized characters, simultaneously deconstructing the Eurocentric patriarchal literary canon. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Fiction award, the novel describes the formative processes of a heroine and a hero who meet and fall in love in Nigeria, migrate to the West, and ultimately reunite in their home country fifteen years later. Through the tension of adaptation and resistance to white norms and white privilege, racism, sexism, and classism of British and American societies, Adichie attempts to define the hybrid identity of the two protagonists and explore their strategies of resistance to overcome suffering. Approaches to gender, decolonization, globalization and Afropolitanism have been purposely adopted to clarify and deepen the analysis of their stories, with a special focus on the importance of Nigeria for the writer and her characters in the interconnection between Africa and the West, the ‘global South’ and ‘global North’.
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah, coming-of-age story, postcolonial, Western canon, patriarchy, resistance