Confronting the Deification of Maleness: A Feministic Reading of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Selected Prose Fiction

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Mphoto Mogoboya, Moffat Sebola


This paper highlights how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in multi-faceted ways, projects and confronts a nuanced (and blatant) understanding of the primacy of maleness over femaleness in her fiction. Adichie’s fiction also depicts the verities of (Black) women living in a patriarchal and repressive world of multi-layered discrimination, marginalisation, abuse, commodification and censorship, all of which appear to be protracted by the notion that maleness is superior to femaleness. Although Adichie largely assigns ‘important’ roles and voices to her female characters, she still, however, projects the looming shadow of patriarchal repression and its attendant constraints which are levied on women by their femininity –psychologically, bodily and scholastically (Seanego & Mogoboya, 2022). Hence, the central thesis of this paper is that the afore-mentioned aspects, among others, propound the patriarchal ideology that foregrounds the primacy of the male, advertently leading to the detriment and repression of the female. Undergirded by the postcolonial feminist theory which is guided by textual analysis as its reading strategy, this paper relies on Adichie’s prose works, namely; Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and The Thing Around Your Neck, for its data and analysis. Arguably, Adichie’s prose falls within the purview of contemporary literary works which project women tackling hydra-headed problems of patriarchal repression, its attendant practices and ideologies, and gender inequality. Adichie’s prose is thus appreciated as a literary platform upon which socio-cultural trajectories in general and gender imbalances in particular are ventilated upon in a postcolonial context.

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