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Independent Study

hsymonds's picture

I've finished reading Americanah, and it left me wondering, "Why did Ifemelu go back?" Throughout most of the book, it seemed natural to me that she would want to return home, but at some point when she was back in Nigeria, it stopped making sense to me, and now I'm wondering if the only reason was to see Obinze again. I'm also curious about Ifemelu's self-righteousness, the way she uses her position as an outsider to judge both America and Nigeria.

This week I want to look at the other sources that Anne recommended to me, and perhaps find some of my own. This will include skimming texts from my French class for relevant quotes or anecdotes to help me think about Americanah. By Monday I hope to have developed an outline for my essay, and I'll try to finish a draft by Thursday. From there I'll reexamine my topic/claim, do more research if necessary, and then write the final essay. I will try to turn it in by Wednesday of finals week.


Anne Dalke's picture

hsymonds--I'm enjoying listening in as you think aloud about how to interpret key decisions in Adichie's text. Why Ifem returned might be prefaced by why she went abroad in the first place: how are those two decisions related to one another? How much are Ifem's decisions driven by her relationship w/ Obinze? How much directed by larger colonialist histories? (see /oneworld/poetics-and-politics-race/progress and/or talk with calamityschild about her thinking along these lines....)

I'm also thinking again here of the short piece Adichie wrote about Beyonce, which I mentioned last week: "Her Type of Feminism is not Mine." This suggests a different reading, one perhaps not supported by the shape of the novel (look @ that last moment, when she welcomes him into her home; hm....) Looking forward to seeing where you head w/ this! A