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International Journal Of Language, Literature And Culture(IJLLC)

Representation of Deviant Behaviour as a Decaying Social Malaise in Chimamanda N. Adichie’s Cell One

Ayodele Adebayo Allagbé , Dorothée Tchada , Adrien Coovi Ahoutinou

International Journal of Language, Literature and Culture (IJLLC), Vol-1,Issue-3, November - December 2021, Pages 1-9, 10.22161/ijllc.1.3.1

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Article Info: Received: 28 Oct 2021, Received in revised form: 25 Nov 2021, Accepted: 08 Dec 2021, Available online: 14 Dec 2021


The aim of this paper is to examine how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, through her anonymous homo-diegetic female character, represents deviant behaviour as a decaying social malaise alongside other social vices like social injustice, Human Rights abuse, bribery and corruption in her short story entitled Cell One culled from The Thing Around Your Neck (2009). Drawing on Systemic Functional Linguistics (henceforth, SFL) (Eggins, 2004; Halliday & Webster, 2009; Fontaine, 2013; Bowcher, Fontaine & Schoenthal, 2019) for theoretical underpinnings, this study specifically studies how deviant behaviour is formed, sustained and endured in the social world of the story. To reach this goal, five extracts are purposively selected from the story and analysed in consonance with the theoretical requirements of SFL. The available literature on the study of deviant behaviour in children and adolescents indicates that there are three major causes of this social problem, namely: poor family backgrounds, effects of mass media and societal pressure/influence (Nicholas & Kennedy, 2018). However, this article cogently argues that these three causes are the (in-)direct effects of the disarticulation of traditional African social structures (Allagbé, Alou & Ouarodima, 2020).The findings reveal that deviant behaviour is formed and developed in families with deviant moral values or/and standards, and is sustained by parental inaction, self-deception, lenient or condoning parenting style, lack of home education, lack of parental restriction, etc. In addition, the findings exude that deviant behaviour like other social vices like social injustice, Human Rights abuse, bribery and corruption is sustained in society by collective inaction or ‘guilty silence’.

Collective inaction, deviant behaviour, guilty silence, parental inaction, social malaise.

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