Coming of Age through War: Exploring Bildung in Adichie’s half of a Yellow Sun


  • Cecilia Addei University of Mines and Technology P. O. Box 237, Tarkwa, Ghana.
  • Cynthia Elizabeth Osei Kumasi Technical University, Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Theresah Addai-Mununkum University of Cape Coast



Half of a Yellow Sun, Bildungsroman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Child soldier, Biafra War.


 This paper explores Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun as a novel of formation with respect to its portrayal of Ugwu, one of the main focalisers of the novel. The novel follows the representation of Ugwu as he develops from a young house boy till he matures to become the chronicler of his people’s war time experience. A core proposition of the paper is that even though Ugwu fights with the Biafran army as a child soldier, his war-time experience does not destroy him like we see in other West African child-soldier novels. Rather, he learns important lessons from the war which makes him mature to become the writer of Biafran war history. This makes the novel conform to the Bildungsroman genre unlike most child soldier novels whose protagonist develop abnormally making those novels anti-Bildungsromane.

Author Biographies

Cecilia Addei, University of Mines and Technology P. O. Box 237, Tarkwa, Ghana.

Senior LecturerDepartment of Technical Communication

Cynthia Elizabeth Osei, Kumasi Technical University, Kumasi, Ghana.

Senior LecturerDepartment of Liberal studies

Theresah Addai-Mununkum, University of Cape Coast

Senior Lecturer'Department of English


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