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Title:'Ora na-azu nwa': the figure of the child in third-generation Nigerian novels
Author:Hron, Madelaine
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Nigeria
About persons:Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977-)ISNI
Helen Oyeyemi (1984-)ISNI
Uzodinma Iweala (1982-)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v039/39.2.hron.pdf
Abstract:This article examines the complex role of the child or youth protagonist, who features prominently in third-generation Nigerian fiction. Countering reductionist claims that demote these texts to juvenile fiction, it draws on African, Nigerian, and children's literary criticism to argue that the hybrid space of childhood enables writers to address themes that may, in fact, be too large for adult fiction, while also engaging culturally uninformed Western readers. Recent Nigerian 'Bildungsromane' manifestly showcase the postcolonial subject's negotiation of sociocultural identity, a quest that is inextricably linked to substantial global concerns of the twenty-first century. Focusing on the language, perspective, and agency of the child-hero, this article investigates three texts - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Purple Hibiscus' (2004), Helen Oyeyemi's 'The Icarus Girl' (2005), and Uzodinma Iweala's 'Beasts of No Nation' (2005) - which reflect the prevailing trends in contemporary Nigerian writing: those criticizing neocolonial Nigeria, those problematizing the transnational space of diaspora, and those raising awareness about human rights violations stemming from globalization. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]