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Title page – – – – – – i
Approval page – – – – – – ii
Declaration – – – – – – – ii
Dedication – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgements – – – – – – v
Table of Contents – – – – – – – vi-vii
Abstract – – – – – – viii

1.1 Background to the study – – – 1-3
1.2 Statement of the Problem – – – 4
1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Study – – – 5
1.4 Significance of the Study – – – 5-6
1.5 Scope and Limitation of the Study – – – 6
1.6 Methodology – – – – – – 6-7
1.7 Author’s Biography – – – – – 7-8
1.8 Theoretical Framework – – – – – 9-10
1.9 Definition of Terms – – – – – 10


3.1 Textual Synopsis – – – – – – 37-42
3.2. Symbols in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun – 42-43
3.3. Symbolic Relevance of Characters in Half of a Yellow Sun – 43-49
3.4. Symbolic Relevance of Events and Objects in
Half of a Yellow Sun – – – – – 49-54
3.5. Relevance of the Themes in Half of a Yellow Sun – – 54-59

4.1. Summary of Findings – – – – – – 60-63
4.2. Conclusion – – – – – – – – 63-64
References – – – – – – – – 65-66





This research was conducted in order to carry out an analysis on the use of symbolism in the novel: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The researcher discovered that there are many symbols portrayed by the author in the text. The chapter one of the research was an introduction of the project which comprised of the theoretical framework and other sections that set the tone of the research. Chapter two of the research was a review of the related literature which is based on the views of other writers on what symbolism is all about, how some literary artist have used symbolism both in poetry and prose in their works to drive home their message; the significance of symbolism in literature and summary of the review. The chapter three was textual presentation and analysis of the primary text: Half of a Yellow Sun. This was done in line with the synopsis of the text, the symbolic characters, events and elements in the novel. The relevant themes of the novel were also discussed by the researcher. The chapter four of the research was the summary of the findings and conclusion, where it was conclude that the text contained a lot of elements of symbolism which the writer uses to reflect the realities in our contemporary society. The research argues that through an indepth explanation of these symbols, readers have a deeper understanding of the message of the author.

1.1. Background of the Study
Different opinions, over the years have emanated from different scholars on different occasions on what symbolism is all about. In literature, symbolism refers to using specific symbols to help represent something else, whether it is an idea or quality. Through this literary element, the different symbols allow readers to better understand and interpret a piece of literary work, (literarydevice.com).
A symbol is a sign that represents, stands for or suggests another idea, visual images, beliefs, actions or material entity. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images which are used to convey other ideas and beliefs. For example, a blue line on a map may be used to represent a river; a red rose may symbolize love and compassion (Wikipedia, 2016).
In considering the effect of a symbol on the psyche, according to (Ampbel, J. 2002):
A symbol is an energy evoking and directing agent. A symbol, like everything else, shows a double aspect. We must distinguish therefore, between the “sense” and the “meaning” of the symbol. It seems to be perfectly clear that all great and little symbolic systems of the past functioned simultaneously.
In essence, symbolism can take different forms. Generally, it is an object representing another to give an entire different meaning that is much deeper and significant. Sometimes, however, an action, an event or a word spoken by someone, may have a symbolic value. Symbols nevertheless, do shift their meaning depending on the context they are used. A chain for instance may stand for union as well as imprisonment. This symbolic meaning of an object or an action is understood when, where and how it is used.
According to Iortyer, (2015), Literature is an imaginative commentary on the human society in which the writer leaves in. the literary artist is charged with the responsibility of educating, entertaining and as a watch dog in the society which he lives in. symbolism gives a writer freedom to add double levels of meaning to his work: a literal one that is self-evident and the symbolic one whose meaning is far more profound than the literal one. The symbolism there, gives universality to the character and the theme of a piece of literature. Symbolism is literature evokes interest in readers as they find an opportunity to get an insight of the writer’s mind on how he or she thinks of common objects and actions, having broader implication.
Writers of prose, drama and poetry, have over long decades use symbolism to convey their messages. Writers like George Orwell in his Animal Farm, William Golding as seen in his Lord of the Flies, Chinua Achebe’ Things Fall Apart just to mention but a few. These writers at different points write to speak against the ills happening in the society at a particular time in human development. They use symbolism to serve as a kind of foregrounding or prominence either to shock the reader or draw the reader’s attention to their messages. This research work will generally examines the use of symbolism in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. the researcher will try to examine the effect of the use of symbolism on readers, the extent of understanding and how the writer is able to effectively use different characters in conveying messages to her readers.
The researcher has been able to identify elements of symbolism in the text: Half of a Yellow Sun. the writer uses certain attributes or people in the society in which she lives in. it is on this note that this research will dwell on the use of symbolism and its effect on readers as used in the text of study.

1.2. Statement of the Problem
Symbolism has been identified as an effective technique in literature. Symbolism helps to sell a literary work in the sense that it is used to portray happenings in the society figuratively. Many writers have written and are still writing using symbols to bring to surface happenings in a society.
Inspite of the benefits and advantages it has in the promotion of literary works, it is also associated with problems. Most literary works are embedded with a lot of symbols therefore, readers experience difficulty in x-raying the deep seated meaning and message intended by writers. Again, most symbols are somehow deceptive in nature, in the sense that they tend to make readers misinterpret the actual message.
From the foregoing, it follows that symbolism or the use of symbols in literary texts, is a dominant element in the primary text of this study Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie. Therefore, the study seeks to investigate the use of symbols and how it contributes to the understanding of the message.


1.3. Aim and Objectives of the Study
This study aims at examining how symbolism is used to achieve diverse goals, how powerful and effective it is in literary works. This work specifically sets out to:
i. Find out the effect symbolism has in understanding the message of a literary work.
ii. Ascertain the reason why students, especially tertiary institution find it had to identify symbols in texts and the mean they carry.
iii. Identify characters that are symbols in the text and the roles they play.
iv. Find out how the writer has tried to use symbols in her text in trying to resolve the ills in her society.
1.4. Significant of the Study
This research is significant especially now that the society is drifting towards destruction as a result of social and moral decadence occasioned by modernism. It is therefore, necessary for human society to be conscientised to avert the looming calamities that affect people in the society, especially women and children.
Secondly, this research will be significant to students who find it hard to understand literary works that have a lot of symbols. It will go a long way to make them understand its relevance and importance. It is in view of these negative consequences on children, women and students that the researcher seeks to educate through the use of symbols in Adichie’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.
1.5. Scope and Limitation of the Study
The research work seeks to look at elements of symbolism and how the writer portrays events using these elements in her novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. Due to time and financial constraints, the research work will be limited to analyzing symbols in the text.
Therefore, the analysis even though, mainly restricted to Adichie’s chosen novel, it will include cursory reference to other critical artistic endeavors that are relevant to the study.
1.6. Methodology
The method of data collection and analysis to be employed for this research is basically textual presentation and analysis of the primary text and other related materials to this study and the use of a sample group that will represent the target audience in order to achieve certain objective.
The method will also involve the use of college library for books, novels, journals, magazines and other materials that would be relevant to the research work. It will also involve critical works written by other artists on the topic or about the author that has any relevance to this study.
Included in this research, is the use of the internet for sources or to source materials that are of relevance.
1.7. Author’s Biography
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on the 15th September, 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria. The fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Adichie. Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka in the house formerly occupied by the great prolific writer Chinua Achebe. Chimamanda’s father worked at the university of Nigeria Nsukka. He was Nigeria’s first professor of statistics and later become the deputy Vice Chancellor of the University. Her mother was the first female registrar of the school.
Adichie Completed her secondary school in the University’s secondary school, receiving several academic prizes. She went on to study medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria Nsukka for a year and half. During this period, she edited “the Compass” which was a magazine ran by the University Catholic Medical Students.
At the age of nineteen, she left for the United States where she gained scholarship to study Communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years. She went to pursue a degree in Communication and Political Science at Eastern State University, where she also wrote articles for the University “the Campus Lantern”. She graduated in 2001 and completed a Master degree in Creative Writing at John Hopkins University, Baltimore.
It was during her senior year at Eastern that she started working on her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which was released in October 2003. Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, which is the primary text of this research, was set before, during and after the civil war or Biafran war. It was published in 2006 in the United Kingdom and in September 2006 in the United States. Some of her books include The Thing Around Your Neck, Americanah and a lot of short stories and articles. Chimamanda is a known feminist. She is now a married woman with a daughter. She divides her time between Nigeria, where she regularly teaches, writing, workshops and the United States.
1.8. Theoretical Framework
Semiotic Symbolism Theory
The semiotic study or theory came from the Greek word “semiotikon” which means ‘sign’ as well as the study of signs and symbols and their interpretation. It is the connection between an object (the signified) and its linguistic representation (such as a word, the signifier) and how the two are connected in giving meaning.
Charles Peirce gave a more comprehensive definition of semiotics: “it is the theory of the essential nature and fundamental varieties of possible semoisis. By semiosis, I mean action, an influence, which is, or involves a co-operation of three objects, such as sign, its object and its interpretation (Eco, 1976).
Semiotic theory of symbols is the systematized body of knowledge that carefully observes and studies not only the signs, symbols and their meanings but also other factors that affect them such as the encoder, interpreter, culture, etc. Symbols are not only limited to visual representation but can also vary from language, shapes, colours, textures, actions, gestures etc.
It is in the light of this that the researcher has decided to use the semiotic theory in order to build her research on, taking into cognizance the objects and elements portrayed or presented in the text.
1.9. Definition of Terms
Symbols or symbol: A person, an object, an event that represents a more general quality or situation.
Symbolism: The use of symbols to represent ideas, especially in art and literature.
Element: A necessary or typical part of something.
Sun: The star that shines in the sky during the day and gives the earth heat and light.


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