Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and issues of ideology in the constitution of the Nigerian novel
The interplay of the subject and concept of ideological interpellation in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is exemplary of how the Nigerian novel represents the changing experience of nationhood in Nigeria. Adichie’s novel adopts the element of voice as a veritable strategy for the constitution of this interplay of subjects and interpellation. Accordingly, the novel negotiates the tension between the two aspects of voice, that of who sees and that of who narrates. Through the homodiegetic character, Kambili, whose name means “That I too may live”, Adichie presents a dialectical situation between characters understood as subjects, with the eventual emergence of Kambili to self-knowledge and condition of social responsibility. The aim of this is to examine how Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is typical of how the Nigerian novel engages itself in issues of ideology and how these issues, in turn, crystallize the challenges of nation-ness in Nigeria. We begin by recalling Walter Benjamin’s timely assertion that the novel gives evidence of the profound perplexity of living. The significance of Benjamin’s assertion for the Nigerian novel is the sense of anxious conjuncture that disavows the fixity and current of certainty in the oral tale. The implication of this for the Nigerian novel is its formal dynamism that enables it to illuminate the changing challenges of nationhood.
Key words: characterisation; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; ideology; Nigerian fiction.