As most people have stated already, Susan Andrade analyzes Jameson’s argument that third world literature should be viewed as a national allegory through a feminist lens. She asserts that women take a different approach to writing, in that they almost always center their novels around family life. She doesn’t believe this makes the novels any less allegorical, but simply that the family becomes the “nation writ small.”

I wanted to look at this argument in regard to both of the novels we have read by female authors- “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “The Secret Lives of the Four Wives.” It is clear that Andrade’s argument holds true for the Lola Shoneyin’s work. There are no direct political references, and the nation centers around a family whose members can easily be seen to represent various traits of the Nigerian nation/people. But what of Half of a Yellow Sun? Adichie takes a much more political approach to her writing. It centers around a war, the characters happen to be family members, but I would by no means say the novel centers around family life. Does this make Adichie’s novel any less of a “woman’s novel”? Does the emphasis on political strife make it more or less allegorical? Is it allegorical at all, since it comes right out and addresses political issues in the plot?


About audreyvorhees

Freshman at American University, studying International Development in sub-Saharan Africa, love travelling and African languages.

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