This research work presents a focus on the nature and nuances of identity, through the lens of psychoanalysis and queer criticism respectively for the two novels under study.
Axiomatically, identity is the defining pivot of our lives; therefore, it is an exigency. The struggle for identity and self-realisation forms the overriding premise of this dissertation, especially as this struggle is reflected in the lives of Ngozi Akachi and Adrian Ebele Njoko, the protagonists of Unbridled and Walking with Shadows respectively. Accordingly, therefore, the theory of psychoanalysis is employed extensively in order to foster an efficacious understanding and insight into the psychological states of the protagonists in question. This is simply an extension of what the author has already depicted in the novels because they are heavily imbued with a psychological overtone. In light of this, I pursue the study of the protagonists’ personae as defined by the conflictual issues inherent in their unconscious vis-à-vis the complexes that their concomitant external actions create. The element of journey, as a motif, is also completely delineated in order to emphasize the development of the physical and psychological states of the protagonists. Basically, I’m concerned with the continuum of the development of the protagonists’ personalities as they are tossed around and tampered with by different characters with which they come in contact, as well as events. For sure, psychoanalysis seems to be a perfect fit for Unbridled. However, there is a veritable queer perspective, alongside psychoanalysis, from which Walking with Shadows can be viewed, as far as Adrian Njoko is concerned. Nevertheless, this is only applicable as it underscores the identity quandary of the protagonist. As in the light of the former, this protagonist’s mind and its workings, especially as this affects external reality, is the focus. Indeed, it all begins in the mind, hence a psychoanalytic study of the protagonists.
Keywords: Self-identity, journey, personality, psychoanalysis, serendipity, experience, queer.