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The Thing Around Your Neck

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cynthia ononye

on 8 January 2013

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Transcript of The Thing Around Your Neck

By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The Thing Around Your Neck Personal Response: In this short story, a young woman named Akunna gains a sought after American Visa and goes to live with her uncle in Maine; but he molests her and she ends up working as a waitress in Connecticut with low pay. She doesn't write to her family back in Nigeria because she doesn't know how to explain the lack of gifts she had promised her relatives. She is sad and alone and every night before she sleeps something around her neck nearly chokes her.
Later, when she starts dating a young white man the thing that nearly choked her starts to let go. But even then she still has a hard time believing in the sincerity of her man's love. Her own insecurities and the racial and class difference between them threaten to drive them apart. When news comes from home that her father died five months earlier, she has to return to Nigeria. The Thing Around Your Neck Summary: Adichie writes stories of women living in between worlds struggling with identity, with mapping, navigating, and trespassing boundaries. Many of these stories are haunted by a sense of individuals affronting their destiny. On her first date with her wealthy new boyfriend, the narrator of the title opens a fortune cookie to find two blank strips of paper. Many of Adichie's heroine's find themselves at similarly enigmatic moments of crisis; young wives married to men with secret lives; a Christian medical student who finds herself taking shelter from a riot with a poor Muslim woman(Chika); a woman seeking political asylum after the murder of her child. Literary Critique: In this short story a young medical student named Chika along with her sister Nnedi a political journalist traveled to the Northern region of Nigeria to see their aunt. As a riot broke out Chika lost track of her sister and while searching for her she came across a poor Hausa woman. The two of them hid in an old store together until the riot went down. A Private Experience Summary: I am a new fan of Adichie's work and from now on,
I will continue to read all of her books. Her ability to convey such relatable characters to young women inspires me to be a stronger person for not just myself, but the people around me as well. Moreover, this book was a great read and I highly recommend it for everyone both male and female. Symbolism
* The blank strips of paper Akunna finds in her fortune cookie symbolizes her life at that point. She didn't know where she was going with it and whom she was going to spend it with. Setting: *The book takes place in Nigeria and in the Eastern part of the United States. Characters: *Akunna is an ambitious young girl who seeks to find prosperity in a foreign land. But her insecurities drive her away from what could have been her one and only true love.
* Juan is the American man who befriends Akunna and starts a relationship with her. More Characters: Chika shows that one cannot judge a person before getting to know them by her actions towards the Muslim woman's hospitality. She formed a new friendship and perhaps a totally new view on the Muslim religion. Theme: * The major theme is loneliness and a longing to belong. Every night Akunna suffered from a strong feeling of loneliness that nearly choked her, also starting a new life in a foreign world made her crave a sense of belonging and safety. Title: *The title "The Thing Around Your Neck" has to do with feeling uneasy or uncomfortable.
* The title "A Personal Experience" has to do with the Muslim woman's prayer with her God. "Powerful... Arresting.. the distilled world
of the short story suits Adichie beautifully:
she shows a rare talent for finding
the images and gestures that etch a
narrative moment unforgettable in the
reader's memory."
----- The Seattle Times
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