Redefining otherness: Writing fictional (auto)biography and centring female subjectivity in Akachi Adimora- Ezeigbo’s Children of the Eagle
This study seeks to examine how the Nigerian female writer Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo redefines otherness in Children of the Eagle by exploring the narrative elements of the sub-genre of fictional autobiography in centring female subjects. By foregrounding one of Regenia Gagnier’s descriptions of a subject—one that is “a subject to itself, an ‘I’, however difficult or even impossible it may be for others to understand this ‘I’ from its own viewpoint, within its own experience”—this paper argues that female subjectivity is a strategy that locates female characters as subjects, narrators, insiders and participants who share their experiences in the novel. It shows that the centrality of the female narrative voice(s) in determining the course and thematic focus of the novel enables female characters to demonstrate their otherness as a quality and position that makes them resilient, strong, and uncompromising promoters of women’s cause against debilitating patriarchal beliefs and systems. Being the speaking subjects also helps them to unpack the underlying trajectories in their development and depiction in the novel. This study concludes that Adimora-Ezeigbo’s adoption of this technique in Children of the Eagle strengthens the view that placing women as narrator-subjects enables the redefinition of otherness as a favourable concept capable of showing women as critical members of their societies and also a tool for African women writers’ to transform the literary scene.
Keywords: Adimora-Ezeigbo, female, fictional autobiography, otherness, subjectivity.