Struggles of the past and present: the African American woman in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie portrays struggles of a black Nigerian as an American immigrant in Americanah. This novel shows conflicts of migratory life, relationship between African American and African people and explores multiculturalism. This paper will discuss stereotypes, racism, identity crisis and influence of literary representations of the West. Observation of characters will discover double consciousness of African immigrant. Adichie shows subtle distinction of cultures through languages. Considering all of these issues, I will discuss struggles of Ifemelu with herself as an African immigrant in the United States. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs is a novel of slave narration. Harriet Jacobs herself had gone through the horror of slavery and sexual abuses by her masters and she portrays her life struggles in her autobiographical novel. Though this is not completely autobiographical or fictional novel as the author says in the preface, “Reader, be assured this narrative is no fiction. I am aware that some of my adventures may seem incredible, but they are nevertheless strictly true” (Jacobs, 3). I aim to bring out the sexual exploitation of women as well as the struggle of slave girl fighting for her freedom and rights in nineteenth century. I will focus on historical background of slavery and civil war to discuss the meaning of female life under suppression, racism and sexual abuses. However, this paper try to trace out slave life and migratory life studying characters of Linda and Ifemelu created by respectively fugitive narrator Harriet Jacobs and Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.