Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Simoes da Silva, A. J. (2012). Embodied genealogies and gendered violence in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie''s writing. African Identities, 10 (4), 455-470.


This essay examines two recent novels by the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda NgoziAdichie,Purple Hibiscus ([2003] 2005) andHalf a YellowSun (2006), placing themfirst ina dialogue with each other, and more broadly with selected Nigerian writing on the Biafraconflict. Arguing with Adesanmi that Adichie belongs to a ‘third generation’ of Africanliterary work, it traces the novels’ work of historical revisionism through gendered andembodied discourses of pain and violence. Adichie returns the reader to an aesthetics ofexcess firmly grounded on potently disturbing images of the ‘body in pain’, in ElaineScarry’s memorable phrase (1983): the battered, bruised and scarred body emerges as akey image, a corporeal evocation of the individual self that is traced in both novels to alegacy of colonial and post-colonial relations, and specific gendered configurations.