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This work analyses two novels by contemporary Nigerian female writers – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Kaine Agary’s Yellow-Yellow as a representative of Bildungsroman which traces the growth and developmental trajectories of the principal characters from childhood to maturation. The study explores the various ways in which the writers re-adopt the sub-genre as a vehicle by means of which the characters of our contemporary Nigerian youths are formed. It acknowledges the existing German model and precursor, Goethe’s Whilhelm Meister Apprenticeship up to British Bildungsroman as well as African female Bildungsroman, which has become very popular among contemporary female writers. Chapter one serves as the general introduction. It explains the meaning and the processes of character formation, it equally shows the plot pattern of the genre, the interrelatedness of psychology of personality formation with Bildungsroman, and the feministic trends in the novel of formation with emphasis on female Kunsterroman. Chapter two is the review of the available literature on Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus as well as points of view of various critics on Agary’s Yellow-Yellow. This chapter points that the existing research work by various critics has not been able to substantiate the key elements responsible for change and transformation in the characters. The study therefore seeks to explore such factors that influence formation of characters in the focal texts. Chapter three forms the theoretical framework and methodology. It establishes the defining feature that characterises Bildungsroman as transmutation. It also describes the feministic criticism in Bildungsroman, showing the relevance of the genre to the topic of our study, its characteristics and distinguishing between the male and female Bildungsroman.


Title Page
Table of Contents

1.1 Introduction
1.2       Background of the study
1.3       The Plot pattern of Novel of formation
1.4       Research Problem
1.5       Psychology of Character formation
1.6       Feministic Trends in Novels of formation

2.1       Review of Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus
2.2       Review of Agary’s Yellow- Yellow

3.1       Theoretical framework
3.1.1 Bildungsroman in Feministic Criticism
3.1.2 The relevance of Female Bildungsroman to this study
3.2  Methodology

4.2 Psychological Formation of the Characters via Familial-Relationship in Purple Hibiscus and Yellow-Yellow
4.3 Religion as a Factor of Character Formation
4.4 Culture as a Factour of Formation in Purple Hibiscus and Yellow-Yellow
4.5 Education as a factor of Character Formation
4.6       The Use of Literary Devices in Purple Hibiscus and Yellow-Yellow

5.1 Summary
5.2  Conclusion
Works Cited

1.1                     CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

In recent years, some of the innovative and formative trends that dominate the 21st century African literaturefocus extensively on character formation. In literary parlance, a novel of formation also called Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story is a literary sub-genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from childhood to maturation, andin which character change/transformation is thus extremely important. The emerging development covers the creative hiatus of colonial and postcolonial experiences that previously dominate African literary canon. Hence, contemporary writers have been ingeniously and eruditely locating the coming –of-ageethos to emphasize that growth and development are universal human phenomena. Talking about the resurgence of growing-up motif in contemporary Africa, especially Nigeria, Maxwell Okolieopines that:

This privilege phase of growing up is often used as intimate, passion-packed subject matter in fiction; to render poetically, its complex vision was once the yearning of some African novelists who consider it essentially not only to the understanding of African personality… but also to the remaking of Africa (141).

By implication, the writers are clearin their ingenuity to locate the process of human growth and development as germane to understanding human personality.More writers are subscribing to this ethos, as will be featuring in the focal texts:Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adiche and Agary Kaine’s Yellow –Yellow.The texts present characters that come of age by virtue oftheir transformations. Kambili in Purple Hibiscustransforms froma stuttering voiceless teenager to a self-assertingadult, while Zilayefa in Yellow –Yellow transforms from a village teenager to a gorgeous coquettish and profligate woman.
Human character can be bewilderingly complicated. In order to appraise the dilemma of the 21st century Nigerian child, the writers, as the conscience of society, have adopted the Bildungsroman dialect to investigate the protagonists’ trajectories in their processes of “becoming”. The hallmark of our studyis the contemporary Nigerian youth(as reflected in the texts) who are caught in socio-psychological comatose. In a situation where “growing up” in consistently modernizing Africa (Nigeria) has meant a gradual but steady departure from the ethos of nobility and innocence, one would not hesitate to question the benchmark as well as the

blueprint for the formation of these characters in their journey from infancy to adulthood. Character, according to ancient Greek scholars such as Plato and Aristotle, is predicted on a person and it must be acquired and cultivated. By implication, one learns and acquires good character when one recognizes an ennobling role and wishes to practise it. Character formation entails the acquisition ofhabits. Broadly, it is the expression of the personality of a human person which reveals itself in his/her conduct. In a narrower sense, character implies a certain unity of qualities with arecognizeddegree of constancy or fixity in mode of action. It refers to the fixed, repetitive,and organized psychological formations, which is determined by the person's values and find expressions in and through the overt and covert aspects of his or her life.When a person has developed a character, he/she can accomplish something by him/herself.Character comes from the mind and enables the person to carry out a task with self-direction. The interaction of nature-nurture dichotomy dictates to a large extent the pattern of character formation and manifestation.


The birth of the Bildungsroman is normally dated to the publication of Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang Goethe in 1795. Etymologically, it is German in origin....

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