International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 263

Full Length Research Paper

Mimicry, rebellion and subversion of Western beliefs in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

Mark O. Ighile
  • Mark O. Ighile
  • Department of English Studies, Faculty of Arts and Education, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Charity Oghogho Oseghale
  • Charity Oghogho Oseghale
  • Department of English Studies, Faculty of Arts and Education, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 24 February 2019
  •  Accepted: 19 June 2019
  •  Published: 30 April 2021

Abstract

Migration is a global issue that entails the movement of people from one place to another. Edward Said states that “our age, with its modern warfare, imperialism and the quasi, theological ambitions of totalitarian rulers is indeed the age of the refugee, the displaced person, mass migration” (2002: 138). The crossing of transnational borders and entry into the receiving country presents various challenges which an immigrant has to contend with. In the assimilatory process, identities are reshaped and reformed into something that is not quite the same and various forms of negotiations occur. This paper contends that a key concern for immigrants in the host country is the negotiation of different cultural forms such as the use of language, the expression of a particular “hair do style” and ways of behaviour which are often alien or not acceptable to the immigrant. Conformity with established codes of behaviour provides easy admission and acceptance to Western life and culture, while rebellion on the other hand poses its own challenges and ambiguities. With the aid of Homi K. Bhabha’s postcolonial theory of hybridity, this paper examines how the immigrant utilizes mimicry and rebellion as strategies for survival and as means of challenging and subverting the stereotyped image of the “native African” in the West in particular. It concludes that through mimicry and outright rebellion, the immigrant can effectively or somehow challenge dominant Western beliefs and assumptions.

 

Key words: Migration, mimicry, Western beliefs, Nigeria, Africa.