Who Am I: Identity Construction in Pede Hollist’s So The Path Does Not Die

Juliana Daniels


Though ‘identity’ has been extensively discussed in many circles of scholarship, the current winds of migration and association by identity makes a further inroad into the need for more research into identity construction even more imperative. Anti-Semitism, racism, ethnic segregation, religious fanatism and gender discrimination are all tenets of the quest for and the guarding of identity. African literary texts, as fictional replication of life, therefore become ideal avenues for the examination of identity formation processes and characteristics amongst Africans. The array of factors that militate against the being a woman in terms of gender and sexuality and how women navigate the roadblocks are amply depicted in African literary works. This paper, therefore, seeks to bring issues of identity construction into a sharper focus in relation to African women in Pede Hollist’s fictional societies. It also adds to the concretization and clarification of issues relating to subjective,         ethnic identity formation and symbolic identity construction as part of the identity negotiation and renegotiation narrative. It purposes to do this by examining Pede Hollist’s So The Path Does Not Die through the lens of Ting-Toomey’s identity negotiation theory, and the subjective, ethnic and symbolic identity construction frameworks as articulated by Helena Grice (1998). It concludes that the principal African women in the novel assert their symbolic ethnic identities by negotiating and re-negotiating various other identities. Eventually, as part of the process of gaining a composite subjective identity, they re-negotiate away from the NEW WAYS identity back to the OLD WAYS identity where they experience harmony and happiness as the outcome.

Keywords: Identity Negotiation, African Literature, Feminism, Gender, Migration

DOI: 10.7176/JLLL/68-05

Publication date:May 31st 2020

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ISSN 2422-8435

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