The Thing Around Your Neck

854 Words Nov 3rd, 2015 4 Pages
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,
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This includes the courage shown by the unnamed narrator in ‘Cell One’ to stand up and cause damage to her parent’s windshield so they could not go and visit Nnamabia for a day, a ‘little victory’ to the less favored sibling. Likewise, Ukamaka, in ‘The Shivering’ is courageous enough to apologise to Chinedu and repair their friendship, whilst in ‘The Arrangers of Marriage’ Chinaza returns to her husband. Despite his various attempts to strip her of her cultural identity and not ‘know[ing] him’ she returns and opens herself to ‘climb[ing] up to love’. Perhaps true courage is most evident in ‘A Private Experience’ where a Hausa Muslim and Igbo Christian hide together in a store while outside their respective ethnic groups are engaged ‘hacking down…with machetes, clubbing…with stones’. To risk the possibility of being seen together, alongside the friendship they develop is a truly courageous act. Adichie therefore demonstrates that ultimately human kindness trumps any religious lines, whilst the women are capable of actions that put themselves in harm’s way.
Furthermore, the characters are intelligent and determined. In ‘Jumping Monkey Hill’ Ujunwa is well-educated and a capable writer, invited to a prestigious writing workshop. She is also intelligent enough to question Edward’s sexual advanced and proclaim that this