Article

Journeys of Becoming: hair, the blogosphere and theopoetics in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah

Citation

Darroch F (2020) Journeys of Becoming: hair, the blogosphere and theopoetics in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah. Text Matters, (10), pp. 135-150. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.08

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

Journal
Text Matters, Issue 10

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online30/11/2020
Date accepted by journal31/05/2020
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/32010
eISSN2084-574X