Ali Salami

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A Postcolonial Feminist Study of Half of a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, (born September 15, 1977, EnuguNigeria), Nigerian author whose work drew extensively on the Biafran war in Nigeria during the late 1960s known for her highly successful novel Half of a Yellow Sun (2006). Half of a Yellow Sun is a novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Published in 2006 by 4th Estate in London, the novel tells the story of the Biafran War through the perspective of the characters Olanna, Ugwu, and Richard. It received critical acclaim and won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2007

Early in life Adichie, the fifth of six children, moved with her parents to Nsukka, Nigeria. A voracious reader from a young age, she found Things Fall Apart by novelist and fellow Igbo Chinua Achebe transformative.

After studying medicine for a time in Nsukka, in 1997 Adichie left for the United States, where she studied communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University (B.A., 2001). Splitting her time between Nigeria and the United States, she received a master’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and studied African history at Yale University.


In 1998 Adichie’s play For Love of Biafra was published in Nigeria. She later dismissed it as “an awfully melodramatic play,” but it was among the earliest works in which she explored the war in the late 1960s between Nigeria and its secessionist Biafra republic.

She later wrote several short stories about that conflict, which would become the subject of her highly successful novel Half of a Yellow Sun (2006). As a student at Eastern Connecticut State University, she began writing her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003).

Set in Nigeria, it is the coming-of-age story of Kambili, a 15-year-old whose family is wealthy and well respected but who is terrorized by her fanatically religious father. Purple Hibiscus garnered the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2005 for Best First Book (Africa) and that year’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (overall). It was also short-listed for the 2004 Orange Prize (later called the Orange Broadband Prize and now the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction).

Half of a Yellow Sun (2006; film 2013), Adichie’s second novel, was the result of four years of research and writing. It was built primarily on the experiences of her parents during the Nigeria-Biafra war.

The result was an epic novel that vividly depicted the savagery of the war (which resulted in the displacement and deaths of perhaps a million people) but did so by focusing on a small group of characters, mostly middle-class Africans. Half of a Yellow Sun became an international best seller and was awarded the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2007. Eight years later it won the “Best of the Best” Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, a special award for the “best” prizewinner from the previous decade.

In 2008 Adichie received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. The following year she released The Thing Around Your Neck, a critically acclaimed collection of short stories. Americanah (2013) centres on the romantic and existential struggles of a young Nigerian woman studying (and blogging about race) in the United States.

Adichie’s nonfiction included We Should All Be Feminists (2014), an essay adapted from a speech she gave at a TEDx talk in 2012; parts of the speech were also featured in Beyoncé’s song “Flawless” (2013). Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions was published in 2017. Following the death of her father, Adichie wrote Notes on Grief (2021), in which she mourned his passing and celebrated his life.


The role of women in resolving disputes and peacebuilding should not be overlooked, although their rights are relinquished globally due to totalitarian status quos in certain regions.

In addition, authoritarian or totalitarian practices single out women who do not have the narrative techniques to reflect their lives.

Feminist theoreticians criticize various forms of oppression caused by governments and cultures; consequently, they intend to reveal how the misuse of politics is turned into women’s manipulation.

Postcolonial feminist criticism also shows how hegemonic mechanisms, dominant institutions, and prevalent discourses marginalize intellectuals. This study aims to demonstrate how Adichie depicts a female Igbo character to deconstruct silenced third-world women within a global perspective through the use of the main postcolonial theories of Gayatri Spivak and Chimamanda Adichie’s feminist speculations, especially her influential essay We Should All Be Feminists.

Chimamanda Adichie’s character becomes a microcosm of Nigeria that embodies both traditional and modern aspects of life without inhibitions. Based on Spivak‘s argument, women from third-world nations are unable to speak up for themselves because of their religion, race, geography, gender, and class divisions.

Thus, Spivak’s Marxist speculations are employed to illustrate the negative impact on subaltern women by analyzing epistemic violence and logocentric assumptions.

By Ali Salami & Yasaman Taheri


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