Race and the Quest for Identity in Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah


Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people but stories can also repair that broken dignity.(Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) In most of her works, Chimamanda Adichie, the Nigerian author sheds light on the cultural misunderstanding that takes place when we forget that everyone’s lives and identities are composed of many moving stories. She believes that one should tell his/her own story because if people are reduced to only one, then they are losing their humanity and identity. Accordingly, the study will show how Adichie in her novel Americanah, reveal race and displacement as main factors contributing to the development of the protagonist’s, Ifemelu, self- image in her struggle for an identity as a black immigrant living in the United States. It will display to what extent the definition of “race” has changed through time, shedding light on the way race is treated in America in the twenty-first century and how interactions between the African immigrants and Americans leads to a psychological injury. In addition, the study will explore how Ifemelu, as an African woman, succeeds in maintaining her Nigerian upbringing while simultaneously adapting to American culture.

Author Information
Shaden Adel Nasser, Ain Shams University, Egypt

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon