Literature and periods are inseparable because of the latter’s function in the interpretation of fiction. Period is an indispensable factor whenever a work of art is discussed. Because a writer does not write in a vacuum but out of the historical, political, or personal experiences/situations from his immediate society, period therefore is a tool that equips the reader to a better understanding of these situations. This paper focuses on the relevance of periods in the appreciation of literature. Moreover, the many factors that influence and determine a period are also explored. The research surveys the ways different eras, movements and economic changes dictate their established modes of narration. In addition, the paper as well probes the periodization of African literature with emphasis on the three generations of African writers and the preoccupation of their texts. The paper examines the writings of African female writers and the themes they explore to drive home the fact that women are relegated to the border in national, traditional and religious debate. Consequently, Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, part of the third generation narration is concerned with the identity of the modern African woman in the 21st Century. This essay therefore, investigates how Adichie in Purple Hibiscus questions patriarchy by deconstructing the roles of tradition and religion in the disintegration of the family and the traditional African society. It is the argument of this paper that Adichie succeeds in creating characters that negotiate hybrid identities thereby defining their selfhood.
Keywords: Generations of African writers, Patriarchy, Periods, Religion and Self discovery, modern identity for the African woman