Traditions of naming in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's fiction

Izuu Nwankwọ


Names aid the identification and classification of individuals, objects, phenomena, places, and things. They also bear immense cultural significance, easily ignored in critical appraisals of works of art because they are seemingly arbitrary and not intrinsically linked to narratives as characters, plot, and language. They are thus considered less important due to their ostensible latent bearing on the appreciation of personality compared to other more evident aspects of characterization in art. However, in Adichie’s oeuvre, I identify deliberate crafting that points to a political angle to naming. This essay engages in onomastics appraisal in examining this aspect of Adichie’s fiction to identify and discuss the aesthetics and politics underlying her use of Igbo personal names. This essay is specifically interested in an ontological exploration of names in Adichie’s work, identifying the roles names play within Adichie’s narratives and society, especially within the pervasive environment of intercultural encounters in today’s world.


African fiction, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, names and naming, Purple Hibiscus, Americanah

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