Chronotope and Identity Crisis in the Nigerian Novel: An Other Reading of Chimammanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

  • Abiodun Adeniji


Abstract This study explores the impact of the spatial and temporal dimensions on identity formation and development in the main character in Adichie’sPurple Hibiscus. The craft of literary criticism springs from the common assumption that a literary text is a site of plurisignification. Consequently, literary praxis, from Aristotle till date, has inhered in the extraction of meanings from prose, drama and poetry texts in the belief that fiction being a mimesis of life must needs assist man to understand himself and the world he inhabits. Thus, characters in fiction attract special attention in literary criticism because, as Alexander Pope avers, the proper study of mankind is man. Although many studies abound on characters and characterisations in the novel, it is rare to find a study on the salubrious or deleterious influences of the spatio-temporal dimension in a work of art on identity formation in a fictive personage. The thesis of this study is that the variables of space and time substantially but subliminally contribute to the formation of a character’s perception of individuality, and the self-image he/she projects to the world. Further, the study hypothesises that if the variables of space and time are changed in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, the identity of the main character in the novel will undergo startling transformations despite his inherited genetic codes.

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eISSN: 1813-2227