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An Intentionalist Approach to the Question of the White Outsider’s Authorial Rights in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip

Author

  • Nadia Ali Elmi

Summary, in English

This thesis explores how Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Mister Pip (2006) by Lloyd Jones engage with the issue of the white male outsider’s activity of writing black people’s stories. It shows that Adichie counters the discourse that entitles the Western subject, Richard, to tell African stories by transferring his interpretive privilege to the African object, Ugwu. Jones engages in canonical counter-discourse, rejecting the white outsider, Mr Watts’, use of his colonialist writing to perpetuate harmful practices and ideas and advancing an approach to postcolonial white authorship that centres on responsible writing and the cultural potential of Pacific fiction. Taking an intentionalist view, this thesis ascribes a hypothetical intention to each author which is believed to communicate the core meaning of the literary work. It attributes to Adichie the intention to argue that only black insiders can authentically speak about their own experiences. It claims that Jones contrarily posits that white outsiders can speak validly about black insiders. Adichie ultimately argues for every human’s right to speak validity about themselves and others but is quite restrictive about who those “others” are. Jones advocates for the intercultural value of the postcolonial white author’s perspective.

Department/s

  • Master's Programme: Literature - Culture - Media

Publishing year

2021

Language

English

Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)

Topic

  • Languages and Literatures

Supervisor

  • Birgitta Berglund (FD)