Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie And The Dialogic Imagination: A Bakhtinian Re-Examination Of Half Of A Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus And The Thing Around Your Neck

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie And The Dialogic Imagination: A Bakhtinian Re-Examination Of Half Of A Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus And The Thing Around Your Neck


In the imagination of authorities like Nasidi, no conscious critic could by any means pass up the aesthetic strength of theory in literary and methodical science of interpreting a text, the unsaid of a text, if he intends to make meaning by keeping the relations of signs and codes of such text. This persuasion has led to the Choice of the Bakhtinian theory of the novel to explain the system of dialogic imagination and related codes of language and describe how these parameters triggered off cognitions in differential relations in Adichie’s texts. The Bakhtinian theory of the novel was developed by Mikhtail Mikhailovich Bakhtin in the 1930s (predated by earlier work of Gyorgy Luckas in 1916).

There Bakhtin’s key argument is dialogism ─ a polyphonic form of voices in dialogue. He maintained that the novel has a narrative reputation of irregular distribution of the resources of language to characters. In others words, the novel constitutes a multi-layered system of interacting and intersecting languages within a language with most reference to socio-ideological and conflicting values. Indeed, characters are indulged in this kind of dialogic intercourse as a result of the different versions of truth their individual minds are capable of conceiving or constructing about the world. As a result such contradiction of voices points to a mode of signification – the signification of the perculiar nature of the novel – the very nature of an insoluble ideology of the novel (save as it is in the aspect of monologism – see p. 101) as Bakhtin argued. Consequently, the Study follows the argument to show the unresolving tendency of the voices and how it leads to social conflicts amongst groups of individuals in
Half Of A Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus; and The Thing Around Your Neck with anotherversion of the argument – monologism, less thronged with conflicting voices.

The study is split into five chapters. Chapter One gives a detailed Introduction to Bakhtin and looks at the Background to the Study, Background to Adichie, Statement of the Problem, Scope and Delimitation, Objectives of the Study, Review of Related literature and Theoretical Framework. Chapter Two considers Half of a Yellow Sun, using heteroglassia to explain the dialogic opposites between characters in line with Adichie’s concern in representing the failure of the intellectual elites in their role as nation builders. Chapter Three presents the carnivalesque as a means of liberation, through which the harsh ideology of Puritanism is questioned in Purple Hibiscus. In Chapter Four, an attempt is made at the interpretation of The Thing Around Your Neck, in relation to monologism. At this point, the story shows monologism as the signification of the stentorian voice of the ruling class which has an element of finality in discourse, and Chapter Five is the Conclusion of the Study.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

In this study, every chapter is thoughtfully and specifically organized with a different introduction. With this arrangement, this chapter discusses in detail the basic comments on the Background to the Study as well as the Evolution and Growth of African prose fiction; Statement of the Problem, Significance of the Study, Scope and Delimitation and the Background to Adichie – author of the works I hope to re-examine. I also review previous Literature of those works, present Theoretical Framework and finally make Statements on the choice of the model I have chosen.

Certainly, a study of this kind must begin with a clue to what the reseacher intends to do. Having borne this in mind, it is necessary to emphasize that the study adopts the Bakhtinian theory of the novel to explain the dialogic imagination in the works of Adichie. Therefore, in order to give a lucid explanation of what I intend to do, I shall indeed begin with the Background.

1.1 Background to the Study

This study re-examines the prose fiction of Adichie in the light of Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin’s theory of the novel. Consequently, it traces the power of “the dialogic imagination” as used by Adichie in Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus and The Thing Around Your Neck. Indeed, the major concept of the Bakhtinian theory of the novelis dialogism, which has three other aspects. Dialogism, according to Bakhtin,is a multi-system of voices in dialogue.

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