Song for Night Essay

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Writing Marginality: History, Authorship and Gender in the Fiction of Zoë Wicomb and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie by Emmanuel Mzomera Ngwira Thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University Supervisor: Dr. Lucy Graham March 2013 Stellenbosch University DECLARATION I, the undersigned, hereby declare that the work contained in this thesis is my original work and that I have not previously in its entirety or in part submitted it at any other university for a degree. Signature............................................... Date...................................... Copyright © 2013 Stellenbosch University All rights reserved i Stellenbosch University ABSTRACT This thesis puts the fiction of Zoë Wicomb and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie into conversation with particular reference to three issues: authorship, history and gender. Apart from anything else, what Wicomb and Adichie have in common is an interest in the representation of marginalised or minority ethnic groups within the nation - the coloured people in the case of Wicomb, and the Igbo in the case of Adichie. Yet what both writers also have in common is that neither seems to advocate the reification of these ethnic groups in reformulations of nationalist discourse. The thesis argues that through their focus on various forms of marginality, both Wicomb and Adichie destabilise traditional notions of nation, authorship, history, gender identity, the boundary between domestic and public life, and the idea of “home”. The thesis focuses on four main topics, each of which is covered in a chapter: the question of authorial voice in relation to history; perspectives offered by women characters in relation to oppressive or traumatic

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