The Making of the ‘New Man’1 in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

Mukoi Musagasa


This paper examines the making of a ‘new man’ character in Adichie’s
Americanah and discusses how such a moulded man integrates himself in
society and deals with other gendered worlds. The discussion shows how
much Adichie in the representation of ‘new man’ character in her novel
rejects the naturalisation of the unchangeability of the male subject by
dramatizing how much the male’s enactment of masculine-self is
contingent to the orientation one gets. In this paper, I establish that that
Adichie’s representation of progressive ‘new man’ character in her novel
does not only serve as a role model for ideal alternative masculinity, but
also re-invents a space necessary for a progressive female character to
belong in hetero-patriarchal setting of the novel. Although the
categorisation of modes of masculinity in this paper begins with Connell’s
binary of hegemonic and subordinate masculinities, the objective of the
discussion is beyond such fixity. My interest in this paper is precisely on
the sets of masculinity which, although they divert from the hegemony,
the difference or the deficit of hegemonic masculinity does not suggest the
inferiority. The paper borrows Swain’s (2006) “personalized
masculinities” to refer to softer and transgressive modes of masculinities
that are rebellious against the naturalisation of heteronormativity.
Key words:
New-Man, New-Woman, Progressive, Masculinity, Femininity

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