Contextualising Identity in Buchi Emecheta’s Kehinde and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah
Keywords:contextualising identity, racism, diaspora, otherness, immigrants
Recent critical discourse on identity by most writers is geared towards identity negotiation. The reiterations of narratives on identity as a result of racism is suitable to refer to Jacque Derrida’s term, the hauntological as McCorkle suggests, in which “the thing that represents the demise of something also signals its continuation in a different form” (as cited in McCorkle, 2016). Slavery and racism necessitates the quest for identity in most areas affected by such experience. Most Diasporan writers often examine identity, ‘Otherness’, displacement, exile and dislocation which has also become the recurring themes in their literary works. This article is a comparative study on the quest for identity in Buchi Emecheta’s Kehinde (1994) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (2013) and the inherent racism that pervades the entire London and American system. The literary works discuss the complex political and racial framework that has continued to support discrimination that most people of colour face. Thus they chronicle and deconstruct the inherent racism as a result of their quest for identity in a foreign land. Both authors write as a result of the recurring experience during their time which is obviously similar. The paper contends that Adichie’s Americanah focuses on racial concerns on African immigrants while showcasing the protagonist’s blog as an instrument of voice as regards the issue of identity. It further reiterates Kehinde’s efforts in succeeding in London against all odds. The article concludes that African immigrants affirm, and define their identity while reclaiming a space for themselves in the migrant culture.
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