The Thing Around Your Neck

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Sinjai
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The women show courage and intelligence even though they are culturally suppressed. Discuss.
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie highlights the often challenging lives of Nigerian women living in Africa, but also abroad in the United States. It is however, not the difficulties which Adichie is ultimately focusing on, but the courage and intelligence of women who are able to make ‘small victories’, overcoming various attempts of cultural oppression.
Adichie’s characters are subject to cultural suppression in several of the short stories. This is most pronounced in ‘The Arrangers of Marriage’ where Chinaza is forced by her husband to assimilate to her new surroundings by ridding herself of all signs of being Nigerian, as ‘to get anywhere you have to be as mainstream as possible’. This included giving up her native dress, language and food in order to fit into American culture. Furthermore, Dave’s request that she change her name, is perhaps the most significant sacrifice, as she became Agatha Bell, while ironically, her neighbor, Nia, had taken on an African name. This essentially makes her disappear in much the same way as Akunna in ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’. Akunna is striped of her Nigerian family through winning the ‘Visa Lottery’ and is then forced from her ‘uncles’ home due to his inappropriate actions. This lands her at the ‘last stop of the Greyhound bus’ in Connecticut and working in a café. The patrons regularly mistake her for Jamaica, as she comments that ‘all black people are from Jamaica’. The ‘ignorance and arrogance’ of the misunderstood Nigerian culture is thereby featured heavily, as her reminiscing about traditional ways of ‘hawk[ing] dried fish’ and ‘crammed’ families in ‘single room’, are happy memories for her. It is therefore, the rejection of Nigerian cultural of those who have immigrated to America, in these cases not…...

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