Original Research

Transgressive body in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

Omotola T. Adeyelure, Alwyn P. Roux
Literator | Vol 44, No 1 | a1893 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v44i1.1893 | © 2023 Omotola T. Adeyelure, Alwyn P. Roux | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2022 | Published: 17 March 2023

About the author(s)

Omotola T. Adeyelure, Department of Afrikaans and Theory of Literature, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Alwyn P. Roux, Department of Afrikaans and Theory of Literature, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

In a society where colour is a major reason for social stratification, the black identity is burdened with the perceived negativities generated by its colour. This reality becomes conspicuous in a space defined by racial superiority and migrant status. In Americanah, unlike her other novels, Adichie migration concerns are more profound to reflect the perception and intense consequences of racial identity for African migrants and black people in the West. Through a close reading of this text from a postcolonial view, this article contends that the migrant status and blackness of African subjects, represented in physical attributes, expose their bearer to racial prejudice. This article further argues that to be integrated and access racial privileges, African migrants must suppress or eliminate the racial burdens attached to blackness by transforming or modifying their identity. Such modification evoked by a transgression is accompanied by a loss of identity.

Contribution: The most outstanding feature of this article is the exploration of the interface between transgression, body and space in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s (2013) Americanah. This article contributes to the growing discourse on transgression, racism and African migrants’ realities and examine the concerns of black people regarding colour politics through intercontinental migration. This article further seeks to address significant questions about the way race influences the cultural attitude of minority groups and how black immigrants react to racial Othering.


Keywords

Transgression; migration; otherness; modifying identity; blackness

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