Major

Middle School Education

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Julie Cyzewski

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

While many still view the Bildungsroman, novels of formation or coming of age stories, as the purview of stuffy formation novels like Dickens’ Great Expectations or Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, there is significant scholarship that suggests a recent revolution in the genre that centers women, people of color, and males in post-colonial or war-torn spaces.

My paper examines Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2006 novel Half of a Yellow Sun as an example of a Bildungsroman through the focalization of one of the main characters, Ugwu, as he endures two psychologically conflicting sexual experiences, one exultant, the other debasing during the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War of the late 1960s.

Adichie’s novel traces the lives of two families in Nigeria in the prelude to and during the conflict of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War. Uniquely narrated by three main characters, my paper explores the character of Ugwu, the poor, village houseboy longing for an education and social mobility, on his journey to man/adulthood.

This paper also explores the underlying events that led to the secession of Biafra from Nigeria during the civil war and reviews first person narratives of child soldiers conscripted during the war to better understand the characterization of Ugwu.

Ultimately, after the completion of Ugwu’s Bildungsroman, he metamorphoses into the product of two Nigerias, neither simply Biafran nor Nigerian, but a composite of the conflicting complexities of the rural/urban, anachronistic/modern, and innocent/spoiled psychological landscapes of a war-torn post-colonial space.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Other

Other Scholars Week Event

The English Literature panel of Dr. Cyzewski

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Exalted and Debased: Psychological/Sexual Conflict as Bildungsroman in Half of a Yellow Sun

While many still view the Bildungsroman, novels of formation or coming of age stories, as the purview of stuffy formation novels like Dickens’ Great Expectations or Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, there is significant scholarship that suggests a recent revolution in the genre that centers women, people of color, and males in post-colonial or war-torn spaces.

My paper examines Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2006 novel Half of a Yellow Sun as an example of a Bildungsroman through the focalization of one of the main characters, Ugwu, as he endures two psychologically conflicting sexual experiences, one exultant, the other debasing during the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War of the late 1960s.

Adichie’s novel traces the lives of two families in Nigeria in the prelude to and during the conflict of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War. Uniquely narrated by three main characters, my paper explores the character of Ugwu, the poor, village houseboy longing for an education and social mobility, on his journey to man/adulthood.

This paper also explores the underlying events that led to the secession of Biafra from Nigeria during the civil war and reviews first person narratives of child soldiers conscripted during the war to better understand the characterization of Ugwu.

Ultimately, after the completion of Ugwu’s Bildungsroman, he metamorphoses into the product of two Nigerias, neither simply Biafran nor Nigerian, but a composite of the conflicting complexities of the rural/urban, anachronistic/modern, and innocent/spoiled psychological landscapes of a war-torn post-colonial space.

 

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