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

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

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Abstract

“You cannot do literature without theory”.

A statement made by Professor Y.A.Nasidi in a lecture with his 2009-2010 MA students at A.B.U.Zaria.

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 another version 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 poin


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