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“She was miraculously neutral”: Feeling, Ethics and Metafiction in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

Terry, Jennifer

“She was miraculously neutral”: Feeling, Ethics and Metafiction in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah Thumbnail


Authors



Contributors

Jean Wyatt
Editor

Sheldon George
Editor

Abstract

This chapter examines the ethical and political inquiry at the center of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s third novel, Americanah, published in 2013. The thinking of Sara Ahmed and Judith Butler helps elucidate the text’s exploration of emotion’s part in othering encounters and social structures as well as its posing of ethical reorientation and answerability. Ostensibly, Americanah offers a dual third-person narrative focus on the mirroring and contrasting migrant lives of Ifemelu and Obinze, and Adichie discusses how she draws on realist traditions in crafting a romance plot between the two characters. Yet, in order to shape her world of stratified, intersectional black identities, global migrant economics and invidious gender protocols—a world of compromise, false positions, entitlement and precarious self-realization—Adichie has made a more complex use of frame narrative, point of view and narrative alignment than previously recognized. Indeed, attention to the novel’s narrative contours and metafictional aspects allows a new understanding of the interrelation drawn between affect, ethics and social position. This opens the possibility of approaches to ethics and literature that are reinvigorated via ideological and narratological awareness.

Citation

Terry, J. (2020). “She was miraculously neutral”: Feeling, Ethics and Metafiction in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. In J. Wyatt, & S. George (Eds.), Reading Contemporary Black British and African American Women Writers: Race: Ethics: Narrative Form (33-51). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429199271

Acceptance Date Jun 27, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 3, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Aug 21, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2021
Publisher Routledge
Pages 33-51
Series Title Narrative Theory and Culture
Edition 1st ed.
Book Title Reading Contemporary Black British and African American Women Writers: Race: Ethics: Narrative Form
Chapter Number 2
ISBN 9780367189280
DOI https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429199271
Publisher URL https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780429199271-4/miraculously-neutral-jennifer-terry

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Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Reading Contemporary Black British and African American Women Writers: Race: Ethics: Narrative Form on February 3, 2020, available online: http://www.routledge.com/9780367189280







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