April 25, 2020
The Book “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Immigration to the USA was related to the idea of the American Dream, which encouraged the citizens of different countries to leave their houses in order to attain it. America is a multinational state that gives shelter for thousands of refugees and immigrants. The majority of people fulfilled their dreams of living in the United States. It is explicitly illustrated in the video “Harvest of Empire.” Although immigrants escaped military dictatorship in their native countries, in America they faced other challenges, particularly racism. The author of the book Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was an immigrant from Nigeria, and her story describes similar problems. The novel concerns the political and social relations which have a destructive impact on personality. The book Americanah has an essential role in society because it discusses the problem of identity and racial discrimination, educating people on how to destroy the present system of racial domination.
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Americanah reveals the essence of social affairs based on racial domination in the USA. The main character of the novel is Ifemelu, a Nigerian girl who left her native country and immigrated to America in order to escape from the cruel military order in Nigeria. However, the main objective of her journey was to attain higher education in the United States. Ifemelu left her friend Obinze in Nigeria. She loved Obinze and could not forget him in America. When Ifemelu arrived to the country of her dreams, she faced racial discrimination and humiliation. The girl discovered a race in America, and it fascinated her (Adichie). The land, which was supposed to become a new home for Ifemelu and was associated with freedom and open possibilities, met her quite hostilely. Thus, on the background of racial discrimination, moral and physical violence, the author shows deep and all-conquering love. The book is quite multidimensional. Although the theme of love seems to be the key idea, the novel also reveals the most essential issues of social relations. The characters suffer because social affairs are a part of them. Thus, Ifemelu’s beloved Obinzo cannot come to America because of the 9/11 tragedy. A new serious obstacle does not allow them be together, which confirms the idea that deep hatred among ethnical, religious and racial groups shapes people’s destiny. Nevertheless, both heroes, Ifemelu and Obinze, achieved high status, respect and success in their life, being separated by the ocean and time. The story generalizes the suffering of some immigrants in order to illustrate the existence of thousands of broken hearts and destroyed lives in the globalized world.
The Role of the Novel in the Society
The role of the novel Americanah in society is explicit because it reveals the essence of racial relations and examines the cultivation of racism in the USA. It is necessary to admit that such an examination can help people understand that all the sufferings are rooted in the racial domination of the American nation. It started a long time ago in the period of Westward Expansion when Americans demonstrated their global superiority and initiated the idea of the American Dream. However, the story of Ifemelu is not one. There are many other books printed in the USA that discuss the idea of racial and ethnic relations in American society. For instance, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz develops the issues revealed in the book by Adichie and has an even more complex plot.
The author shows the nature of racial dominion, namely the intention to globalize the society, making it stereotypic and identical. Thus, the problem of immigrants slowly transforms into the global problems of society, which destroy personal uniqueness and turn people into the masses through humiliation, violence, and discrimination. “…cool kids torture the crap out the fat, the ugly, the smart, the poor, the dark, the black, the unpopular, the African, the Indian, the Arab, the immigrant, the strange, the feminine, the gay – and in every one of these clashes he saw himself” (Di?az 264). This sentence reveals the true nature of social affairs. American and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao are written to enhance readers’ understanding of social aggression directed towards people with unique peculiarities. Moreover, these literary works urge humanity to revise its pursuit of globalization and the related social and cultural processes, such as aggression, destruction, social identity and stereotypes.
Americana as a Book about Race and Racial Identity
The novel reveals the most important problems in America. Thus, although the United States is the country of wide possibilities and freedom, it initiated the tendency of identity, which is illustrated in the story of a young blog writer. The author reveals that America globalizes the world’s nations, proposing them comfortable conditions of life, and intends to create a general society without ethnical and racial diversity. The population of the country lives in such circumstances and does not see a threat in this tendency. By contrast, Ifemelu recognizes that race is an issue in America, and she did not know about before she emigrated from Nigeria (Adichie).
The only essential race is the race of humanity. Certainly, the author recognizes that all people are different and equal. Any kind of racial and social aggression with an intention to discriminate someone causes destruction and leads to other serious adverse consequences, such as, for instance, the events of 9/11. It is possible to assume that Adichie intentionally reminds about the tragedy in order to make an association with the tendency of global identity, racism, and the priority of one nation over the others. In addition, America is a unique country that gives shelter for millions of immigrants escaping from wars and genocide. All the immigrants adapt to new life conditions, and the majority of them lose their cultural and ethnic peculiarities, as the film Harvest of Empire shows (“Harvest of Empire”). The film illustrates how capitalism destroys social order.
Identification of the Existing Structure of Racial Domination
The novel Americanah helps people to deconstruct the existing system of racial domination. The book contains many useful and informative ideas, which reveal the issue of domination from a philosophical perspective. The aspect of blog writing helps the author to present empirical evidence of racial issues in America. Thus, the book dismantles the existing structure in the USA, helping the reader understand its nature and sources. Ifemelu indicates that she became black after her coming to America (Adichie). Thus, the problem concerns the population of the country since society cultivated the ideas of racial superiority over other nationalities. Discriminating people on the grounds of race, the citizens of the USA lose their own peculiarities and engender social hatred and destruction. The author does not say it directly, but it is revealed through Ifemelu’s philosophical writing in blogs about her personal feelings. In such a way, Adichie deconstructs the nature of racial domination, which contributes to the burning social question about the race.
The author explains that race has no biological characteristics because it is a social phenomenon. Moreover, she concludes that race is a subject of sociology (Adichie). Thus, it is possible to assume that this key phrase summarizes the value and essence of the entire book. Americanah breaks a stereotypic understanding of Americans about their racial priority and destructs the existing conceptions. “Race is not genotype; race is phenotype” (Adichie). It concerns only general external characteristics, such as skin color. It is not related to spiritual dimensions or the level of education. Everywhere in the world, people stop being red or black, and only in the USA they become darker and achieve some shades. Naturally, the problem lies in society, which causes some conditions that make people feel alienated from each other due to ethnic differences. Therefore, the book can be an example of educating people on how to destroy the present system of racial domination. America is a perfect country of great expectations and huge possibilities, and racism is the only issue that violates its order. Racial discrimination compromises the superior status of the country. Furthermore, it is quite a contradictory issue for the most powerful country in the world, which is considered an exemplar of democracy and freedom in terms of equality.
Thus, the novel Americanah by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes a story of a teenager who came to America with an intention to receive education and escape from dictatorship. However, she faced the problem of racial inequality and discrimination. The country appeared to be a place of the controversial combination of racism and freedom. The book has an essential role in society, educating and enlightening people about racial identity and its destructive effect. The book gives the impulse for the deconstruction of the existing structure of racial domination. This idea was developed and extended by other authors. Therefore, the general issues developed in the book prove that racism is a social phenomenon. The problem developed from the idea of globalization and identity, which destroys the essence and peculiarities of a personality. It can be inferred from the book that America can enforce its powerful and superior status only by overcoming racism.
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