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Lecture

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Department
English
Course
ENGL 2Q99
Professor
Shannon Mac Rae
Semester
Winter

Description
Wise 2Q99 – Lecture 2 Tuesday, January 22, 2013 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie • 1977- she’s in her early 30’s • “The Danger of a Single Story” TED talk - TED talks is public lectures on diverse issues … in 2009 Adichie gave one of these lectures called ‘danger of a single story’ regarding the dangers of only hearing one side of the story/history - She started writing about her own people because she was so used to reading about white European peoples, that she didn't think ‘her kind of people’ could even exist in literature - However, she still liked the ‘white people’ stories, because they opened up her imagination and opened her up to other/new worlds - Her talk stated that someone cannot be defined by simply one story, or one attribute such as “poor” - When she went to college, her roommate had only heard one story of African people, and then she placed all Africans under this one ‘story’ - Cannot classify all peoples, all nations, or all societies under one ‘bubble’ everyone has their own story • "At once the portrait of a country and a family, of terrible choices and the tremulous pleasure of an odd, rare purple hibiscus blooming amid a conforming sea of red ones" — San Francisco Chronicle Purple Hibiscus • Major theme—Nigeria as a post-colonial society - informs everything that is going on in the book - one level: story of a young woman coming of age, seeing two very different lifestyles - 2 level: story of a country in the period of a transition • Igbo people—10 century - Protagonist comes from the Igbo people - Culture long established within Nigeria, but we don’t get a full sense of in this novel • Igbos lose control when British begin to colonize in 18 century - As Britain becomes colonial power, the area that will become Nigeria is one th that is forever changed – a culture that has existed from the 10 century and is all of the sudden changed • Nigeria as part of slave trade - There were often individuals in these countries that would round up others from other tribes or their own tribes and sell them - Papa Eugene participates in the colonialism … Papa loses controls when Nigeria becomes its own nation – His company produces colonial products (Wafer cookies, etc) • Nigeria gains independence only in 1960 • From 1960-1999 coups, military juntas, tribalism, conflict between Christians and Muslims - People are attempting to grab power and wrestle power – a lot of this happening among tribes - Continual state of transition - A lot of people say “The Africans” are half demon, half child and have no idea how to run their country and this is why military issues are occurring … except when you think back you have a country that is strong during the moments of slavery - Our sense is in the West, and many people refer to Africa as a country and its own nation due to ‘single stories’ - Talks about the families power struggle and issues, while having the back drop of the colonies power struggles … the culture struggles are embedded in the family’s issue Colonialism • Papa Eugene as ultimate colonial citizen - He is enormously wealthy - his company produces American products (Wafer cookies-practicing colonialism) - He is able to go undercover and change himself to fit with the colonial remainders - Even though the novel is at a specific time, his behaviour is consistent - Papa Eugene is complicit • Rejection of Papa Nnukwu - Papa Nnukwu represents Nigeria post colonialism (traditionalist) while papa Eugene represents colonialism - Eugene choses to love his religion more then he loves his own father… felt like he had to choose • Colonial drama plays out at home, where Papa Eugene operates as colonizer - Eugene rules his household, questions himself, feels badly about what he does to his wife and kids – but has to carry on with these actions in his role as colonizer • Up to new generation to create a hybrid identity - Kambili coming of age sexually (with her attractions to the Priest) - Contact with her grandfather gives her one sense of her character, while her father imposes her other half … she realizes she can consist of both of these things and this is what builds her character ultimately - She is coming into an awareness of both of these traditions and recognizing that she doesn’t have to take everything forward … she can pick and choose which characteristics she wants to carry on with in her life - She doesn’t reject Catholicism, but chooses a different Catholicism then her father taught her - Father Amadi is the representation of both of those conflicted histories and making them work (he is a Catholic priest but is okay with playing Igbo music). He focuses on the value of fusing traditions together. - Aunt Ifeoma: Opposition - Adichie plays with characters and how they are completely different, but then you start to see oppositions that aren't really as strong as you initially thought - Adichie pushes us as reader to make these comparisons … because these divides we see between being Igbo and being Nigerian begin to fracture and we end up seeing what they have in common rather then how they differ • Ifeoma vs. Beatrice (Mama) - Each practice their own form of feminism - At the end of text, they are both willing to stand up against woman hate - Beatrice-homespehere (deals with it inside her home) - Ifeoma – deals with it in outside world • Kambili vs. Amaka - Kambili learns to laugh and sing and be happy and free - Amaka learns to become serious and mature … therefore making them very much alike • Papa Eugene vs. Father Amadi - Kambili loves Amadi possibly because of his op
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