Dr. Solomon Azumurana
REFRACTING CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S AMERICANAH THROUGH A POST-COLONIAL PRISM
Respected Marxist critic Frederic Jameson once described every instance of “third world literature” as necessarily nationally allegorical (69), an assertion spectacularly assailed by Aijaz Ahmad (77-82).
But it is possible to close our eyes to Ahmad’s very valid misgivings and take a bird’s eye view of Jameson’s assertion: read in reaction to the phenomenon of imperialism, perhaps the literature of dominated peoples is the literature of self-assertion, however blind to Jameson’s national allegorical (or anticolonial) imperative, and however “hybrid”. That last expression might as…show more content… But first, I must situate Americanah in its post-colonial moment.
2. Situating Americanah in the Post-Colonial Moment
Since it is published in 2013, the material reality of Americanah is conditioned, however distantly it seems now, by the phenomenon of colonialism—it is written in English, for instance. Although published in 2013, the temporality and spatiality of Americanah’s narrative extends backwards to the late 70s when its major protagonist, Ifemelu, was born. As a child, she witnesses the death by firing squad of that famous robbery kingpin, Lawrence Anini (148), and lives through coups, coups attempts, strikes and the usual brand of public dysfunction that still haunts Nigeria, therefore linking its post-coloniality with that decidedly African brand of introverted, introspective post-independence post-coloniality of disillusionment exemplified by novels such as Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease and Anthills of the Savannah, and soon enough with the post-coloniality of globalization (and the neoliberal ideology that has hijacked it). As we see in the novel, this disillusionment is the animus of her exile. Ifemelu arrives America in 1997, the year in which Kudirat Abiola, activist wife of M.K.O Abiola, was killed (116). Here, Americanah’s post-coloniality takes a new turn. This new turn, inaugurated by Ifemelu’s (voluntary