Author ORCID Identifier
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4424-2506 Darroch Fiona
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah provides provocative reflections on intertextuality and becoming by exploring the potentially transformative power of “blog-writing.” Through a combined reading of Mayra Rivera’s Poetics of the Flesh and Adichie’s Americanah, this article details intersections between the virtual and the material; writing in the (imagined “other-wordly”) blogosphere about the organic matter of hair. The narrator of the novel, Ifemelu, establishes a blog after she shares her story to decide to stop using relaxants and to allow her hair to be natural, via an online chat-room; she refuses to go through ritual performances in order to succeed as a migrant in America. In this article I argue that Adichie’s detailing of Ifemelu’s relationship with her hair explores the way in which creative practice, or poetics, is intimately connected to the journey of our flesh; social history is marked on our bodies. The blog becomes a confessional which details the demeaning effect that social constructions of race have had on her body. But the blog ultimately becomes self-destructive. It is only when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria that she embodies the transformative and cathartic power of contemporary modes of story-telling, and where she is finally able to “spin herself into being.”
Adichie, theopoetics, materiality, hair, blog-writing
Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
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Cruz-Gutiérrez, Cristina. “Hair Politics in the Blogosphere: Safe Spaces and the Politics of Self-representation in Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 55. 1 (2019): 66–79. Web. 22 Oct. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449855.2018.1462243
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Rivera, Mayra “Poetics Ashore.” Literature and Theology: A Special Issue on Theopoetics 33.3 (2019): 241–47. Print. https://doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frz025
Rivera, Mayra Poetics of the Flesh. Durham: Duke UP, 2015. Print.
Sandwith, Corinne. “Frailties of the Flesh: Observing the Body in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.” Research in African Literatures 47.1 (2016): 95–108. Web. 4 Sept. 2019. https://doi.org/10.2979/reseafrilite.47.1.95