Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

English

Date of Award

12-2010

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Phyllis Thompson

Committee Members

Karen L. Cajka, Shawna T. Lichtenwalner

Abstract

Purple Hibiscus, a novel by third-generation Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie, appears at first glance to be a simple work of adolescent fiction, a bildungsroman in which a pair of siblings navigate the typical challenges of incipient adulthood: social ostracism, an abusive parent, emerging desire. However, the novel's setting-a revolutionary-era Nigeria-is clearly intended to evoke post-Biafra Nigeria, itself the setting of Adichie's other major work, Half of a Yellow Sun. This setting takes Purple Hibiscus beyond the scope of most modern adolescent fiction, creating a complex allegory in which the emergence of self and struggle for identity of the Achike siblings represent Nigeria's own struggle for identity. Adichie achieves this allegory by allowing the father figures of the novel to represent the different political paths Nigeria could have followed in its post-colonial period. The Achike siblings' identities develop through interactions with each of these patriarchs.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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