Half of A Yellow Sun

Topics: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria, Biafra Pages: 7 (2921 words) Published: January 4, 2011
Till this day, there are new contemporary scholars and authors that come forth in Nigeria to share their views on the political and social conflicts in the community. At the age of thirty one, Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie already has a following that writers twice her age would envy. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, debut to critical acclaim. Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, quickly established her as one of the leading voices of her generation. She is a renowned author whose work has touched people all over the world, including the great Chinua Achebe. His comment on Adichie’s brilliant ways of conveying African, particularly Nigerian people was, “We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient story tellers….She is fearless, or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made.” (1) After a two year hides after her second novel, She returned with The Thing Around Your Neck, which is a collection of twelve short stories about the Nigerian immigrant experience. This book is her first collection of short stories. Unlike her previous works which are set in her homeland of Nigeria, most of these stories take place in America, where Adichie has lived since the late nineties. Many of the book’s main characters are women. Women who are filled with longing, regret and sadness. Women who are disappointed by their husbands, and America is an even bigger one. After reading this book, many may walk away thinking that America is not the best place in the world and that marriage is not necessarily a great institution for women. From the book, she portrays Nigerian immigrants as being stifled and have to make great compromises when they arrive in America. One of the themes in the novel is the realities of leaving home. Achibie’s previous novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, we are brought into the lives of of characters who are living during a civil war in Biafra, Nigeria. A brutal 20th century conflict forms the background to this novel. The attempt in 1967 by the Igbo people of South Eastern Nigeria to set up the independent breakaway republic, Biafra. The title, Half of a Yellow Sun, refers to the flag of poor doomed Biafra, and reflects the dawning hopes and dreams of those who believe in the possibilities of the new nation. A hope which died in the horrors of violence and famine. However, this is not a gloomy book, nor is it filled with battles. It is above all an extraordinary compulsive page turner of a novel in which Adichie explores her big themes by focusing on the lives and loves of five characters whom we come to care about very deeply. Odenigbo, a university professor, his young servant Ugwo, Odenigbo’s mistress, the beautiful and wealthy Olanna, together with Olanna’s twin sister Kainene and her English lover Richard, whose stories are at the heart of the novel. Of course, we with the benefits of hindsight know that their Biafra is a pipedream. It is not going to succeed and the tragedy, the nightmare, and the ultimate utility of war haunt the pages of this book. But this novel does what only great historical fiction can. It makes us realize what it must have been like to be there, alive, at that moment in time and how that moment must have felt. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2007, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2008. (2) But before her success in the United States, Adichie came from a very humble background in the state of Enugu, in the South-Eastern region of Nigeria. Her father, a professor, and her mother who also worked at the university, both instilled in her from quite a young age, the importance and value of education. Growing up she was always a straight A student, but her stubbornness and arrogant attitude always...

Bibliography: 1. Chinua Achebe
2. http://www.l3.ulg.ac.be/adichie/
3. Chimamanda Adichie
4. Chimamanda Adichie
5. Chimamanda Adichie
6. Chimamanda Adichie
7. Mourid Barghouti
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