Between Three Worlds: Time, Space, and Otherness as Interstices of Resistance in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl (2005) and Diana Evans’ 26a (2005)
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This study looks at two novels, Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl (2005) and Diana Evans 26a (2005), as examples of Black womxn’s postcolonial gothic fiction. It aims to ascertain how these works, as examples of the increasingly popular African gothic genre, demonstrate resistance against the intersectional oppressions that constitute Black womxn’s identity. These novels similarly engage with Nigerian cosmologies surrounding twins, souls, abiku/ogbanje spirits, and different manifestations of Black womxn’s power, in the negotiation of identity as British-Nigerian subjects; and both follow the lives of female, ‘half and half’ children, who are caught between Africa and the UK. By reclaiming control over cultural production and merging traditional African cosmologies with the Western gothic tradition, these authors acknowledge the rich cultural history and narrative traditions of Nigeria and invite readers to consider alternate social realities than those perpetuated by Western thought. Ultimately, they undermine the centrality of such oppressive Western constructs, and enact resistance against their intersectional oppressions. Close-reading analysis of the texts exposes the presence of multiple forms of resistance in the rewriting of time, space, and Otherness, rather than merely the elucidation of fears, as in the traditional gothic manner. Effectively, the novels challenge colonialist conceptions of power and privilege which position the African womxn as the ultimate Other and, thus, they constitute acts of cultural resistance.