DIASPORA, IDENTITY FORMATION AND CRISIS OF BELONGING IN BUCHI EMECHETA’S SECOND CLASS CITIZEN AND CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE’S AMERICANAH

DIASPORA, IDENTITY FORMATION AND CRISIS OF BELONGING IN BUCHI EMECHETA’S SECOND CLASS CITIZEN AND CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE’S AMERICANAH

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ABSTRACT

Diasporic literature centres on the experiences of people all around the world who leave their homelands in search of ―greener pastures‖ or are forced out of such homelands for various reasons. As a neo-colonialist tendency, the search for greener pastures is often perceived as the way out of the socio-political dilemma of 21st century Nigeria. To repudiate this ―green pasture‖ façade therefore, this dissertation explores issues of identity formation and the crisis of belonging in order to show that the Diasporic experience is a complex reality that amounts to double consciousness and/or identity crisis. In discussing Buchi Emecheta‘s Second Class Citizen (1974) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s Americanah (2013) as Nigerian Diasporic Literature, this study adopts postcolonialism as the theoretical basis for the assessment of how the characters in the selected texts grapple with issues of race, identity, nostalgia and alienation in their new homes. The study proceeds on the assumption that Nigerian Diasporic Literature deserves critical attention since it expresses the relationship between literature and discourses like political instability, poverty, unemployment and other societal issues in Nigeria and the Diaspora where the various characters emigrate to. In this regard, the study examines the cause and effect relations of the diaspora experience in the texts under study and finds that immigrants who leave their country of origin in search of greener pastures are confronted and disillusioned by issues of racial discrimination and culture difference in the Western societies that they relocate to. The study also finds out that their experiences alienate them as the ‗other‘ and deprives them of a sense of belonging.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0       Background to the Study

The term diaspora is found in the Greek translation of the Bible and originates in the words

‗to sow widely‘. For the Greeks, the expression was used to describe the colonisation of Asia

Minor and the Mediterranean in the archaic period (800–600 BC).Although there was some

displacement of the ancient Greeks to Asia Minor as a result of poverty, over-population and

inter-state war, diaspora essentially had a positive connotation. Expansion through plunder,

military conquest, colonisation and migration were the predominant features of the Greek

diaspora (Cohen 1996, p.1).However, diaspora has overtime gained wider usage referring to

―the migration of people from their place or countries of origin to other parts of the world‖

(Okpeh 1999). Brubaker (2005, p.3) also notes that the use of the term diaspora has been

widening and suggests that one element of this expansion in use ―involves the application of

the term diaspora to an ever-broadening set of cases: essentially to any and every nameable

population category that is to some extent dispersed in space‖,hence, the need to focus on

Nigerian diaspora. All the definitions of diaspora, whether it is dispersion of people from


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