Language In Adichie's Half Of A Yellow Sun

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In Adichie’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, we meet many characters such as Ugwu, a village boy, Odenigbo, a professor and Olanna, who is an educated woman, in a relationship with Odenigbo. Through many ways, the language used is linked to what the characters represent. For instance, Olanna and Odenigbo represent different aspects of women and men respectively, while Ugwu encompasses village boys who have sexual desires and who also have dreams. The events of the war gradually change the mindset of the characters and this is perceived through how Adichie makes use of language. Igbo, being not only a language, but a culture in itself is thoroughly present in the text. This essay will tend to put forward how language and different techniques are…show more content…
Here, Adichie changes the order of things. She writes Igbo words and expect us, readers, to make the effort in order to understand the meanings. This idea, in a way, joins what was brought forward in ALLYBOKUS -­‐ 4 -­‐ the previous paragraph, whereby Ugwu represents how if we want to learn something, we can achieve it. Another reason which could suggest why Igbo words are not translated might be that, just as many other languages, when translated, most words or expressions lose their meanings, or obstruct to the flow of the passage. A rude way of saying shut up is used, and mentioned as “ekwuzikwananu nofu” (18.195). Nonetheless, when translated literally from Igbo, we get the words ‘put your mouth to the side’. Moreover, Odenigbo repeatedly uses words like “nkem”, meaning my own, when referring to Olanna, and Ugwu always says “sah” and “mah” when referring to sir and madam. By doing so, the writer is, once again, going against what the colonisers expect from a novel. It is a constant reminder that the Igbo characters are Igbo and will remain Igbo all throughout the story, regardless of…show more content…
Adichie, hence, makes use of numerous techniques in order to convey the extent to which the war has affected their identity, who they really are. Firstly, we witness a constant shift in the narration, whereby the first part of the novel is about the early sixties, the second part is about the late sixties, then we move back to the early sixties once again and we end with the last part, which is, once more about the late sixties. Likewise, we witness a stream of consciousness which is often present: ALLYBOKUS -­‐ 6 -­‐ “She drove over the bumpy dirt roads lined by tall grasses and thought how interesting it was that villagers could tell you something like […] It was raining. The roads were marshy. She glanced at the looming three storeys […] They would be in Cameroon by now, or perhaps probably in London or in Paris, […] her tyres skidded a little […] she sat still for a while, watching the raindrops slide down the windscreen.” (17.191). This stream of consciousness is used by the author as a means to bring to light the characters’ distress caused by the war. Finally, silence is also used as a means to convey feelings. Upon moving to Abba, Olanna “understood that nobody talked about the things left behind.
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