Daddy’s Girls?: Father-Daughter Relations and the Failures of the Postcolonial Nation-State in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Véronique Tadjo’s Loin de mon père
- ariel: A Review of International English Literature
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 44, Number 1, January 2013
- pp. 99-126
- Additional Information
Postcolonial theoretical discourses have adopted postnationalist overtones, declaring the obsolescence of the nation and treating dislocation as the paradigmatic condition. Sometimes, however, the claims of postnationalism may seem premature: the nation-state persists in the African literary agenda. When operating within the current paradigm, the notion of cosmopolitanism can serve as a useful tool for understanding contemporary African literatures and the ways in which they negotiate their relation to the local realities of the continent and the world beyond its boundaries. In this article, I read the narrative of the failed post-colonial nation-state through the lens of the father-daughter relations in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Véronique Tadjo’s Loin de mon père (2010). The father-daughter relations are intertwined with the narrative of the postcolonial nation, giving voice to daughterly disillusionment. The texts inscribe the national crisis on a larger map, making it a global rather than simply a local concern. The novels undertake a new attitude toward nationhood while being interested in national issues: their future visions are not in line with the logic of the nation-state but nor are they so with the transnational dimension. Instead, they are equally informed by the unease caused by the failures of the postcolonial nation-state and the unfulfilled hopes of finding both a more favorable socioeconomic situation and a sense of belonging in diaspora.