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Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4424-2506 Darroch Fiona

Abstract

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.”

Keywords

Adichie, theopoetics, materiality, hair, blog-writing

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

References

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. London: Harper Collins, 2013. Print.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Danger of the Single Story.” Online video clip. Ted.com. TED Ideas Worth Spreading July 2009. Web. 5 Mar. 2020.

Appadurai, Arjun. “Traumatic Exit, Identity Narratives, and the Ethics of Hospitality.” Television and New Media 20.6 (2019): 558–65. Web. 22 Oct. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476419857678

Cooper, Brenda. A New Generation of African Writers: Migration, Material Culture and Language. Suffolk: James Curry U of KwaZulu-Natal P, 2008. Print.

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

Danticat, Edwidge. Krik? Krak! New York: Soho,1991. Print.

Isaacs, Camille. “Mediating Women’s Globalized Existence through Social Media in the Work of Adichie and Bulawayo.” Safundi 17.2 (2016): 174–88. Web. 22 Oct. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/17533171.2016.1179463

Keller, Catherine. Intercarnations. Exercises in Theological Possibility. Fordham.universitypressscholarship.com. Fordham Scholarship Online Jan. 2018. Web. 5 Mar. 2020.

Pui-Lan, Kwok. Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology. London: SCM, 2005. Print.

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

First Page

135

Last Page

150

Language

eng

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