The Archetypal Search for Kainene: Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, Nigerian State and the Lost Biafran Dream

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Awelewa, A.
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Centre for African Studies (LUCAS)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s progress as a writer is remarkable. I begin with a meditation on authorial self-presentation via the signature. Her transformation from “Amanda” to “Chimamanda” is reflective of the desire of someone who suddenly discovers a missing cultural link in her personality and quickly backtracks to find this cultural link with a view to reintegrating the lost elements within the existing corpus. The author finds more in the full complement of deep expression and cultural reinterpretation conveyed by the full name – Chimamanda – which the mutant, Amanda, might never have been able to project. The presence of “Ngozi,” which translates to “blessing” in Igbo is a meaningful portrayal of Adichie’s re-emergence on the Nigerian literary scene, having previously tried her hand at poetry and drama at the onset of her publishing career. The career “makeover” of Adichie is worthy of note in the sense that the less famous poet and playwright Amanda suddenly gives way to the world-acclaimed and award-winning Chimamanda, the novelist.
This paper considers Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun and her treatment of the lost Biafran dream in a country that has struggled to maintain the ideal of a unified nation. The paper explores Adichie's deployment of syzygies to explain the binary nature of Biafran identity and the continuous search for a true Nigerian identity. The paper deploys Carl Jung's theory of the archetypes and collective unconscious in the interrogation of identity in a troubled Nigerian State.
Biafra, Archetypal search, Nigerian State, Half of a Yellow Sun