Reconstructing the Nigerian English Identity in Nigerian Literary Fiction: A Study of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus

Chidimma U. Inyima


Language has been identified as the most flexible and pervasive of the many symbolic resources available to man for identity construction. Nigerian novelists such as Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Wole Soyinka, and Gabriel Okara had in their generation explored this basic function of language not only for the reclamation of the African identity but also in the construction of an identity for the Nigerian variant of the English language. These identities were however regional. The onus therefore lies on contemporary Nigerian literary artists to consolidate the Achebean tradition and negotiate an all-embracing state-of-the-art national identity for the Nigerian variety of English. This study employs the framework of the cultural identity theory and through a descriptive approach examines Adichie’s reconstruction of the identity of the Nigerian variety of English as national, legitimate, viable and adequate for fictional narration in Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus. In doing this, the paper advocates continued and persistent reassertion of the authenticity and collective ownership of the variety by Nigerian literary artists in order to finally put to rest all lingering reservations, enhance national cohesion and realize the codification of the variety.

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