Summary

Americanah is a novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about the life of a childhood Nigerian girl named Ifemelu who later moves the United States to go to college at Princeton University. She grows up in a town called Lagos with a culture she finds harshly contrasts that of America. During her adolescence she spends most of her time with her aunt, Aunty Uju, and her cousin Dike; for much of her younger years, she sees Uju as a role model figure and Dike looks up to Ifemelu in a similar way. She also falls in love with a boy named Obinze during these younger years. The grow distant and separated while she is away, but later find their way back to each other.  The central themes of this book include racism, identity, and cultural criticism. Through her transition from Nigeria to America and her contrasting experiencing in the two countries, she portrays the affect her race, and racism, has on her personally. Through her ongoing love with the boy she was with in high school, her more brief relationships following her settling in America, and her changing relationship with her aunt, she develops a story on the process of finding her identity. And lastly, through her observations and analysis of others around, as written on her blog, she learns more about society and why people become who they are.  

My visual aid is representative of the novel because it is a recreation of the blog she writes throughout the story. I transcribed her blog entries in the most chronological order I could, despite the book being not fully chronological. It touches on her growth and understand of society and her own identity and gives the novel the element of cultural criticism.

Obama Can Win Only If He Remains the Magic Negro

Obama Can Win Only If He Remains the Magic Negro

His pastor is scary because it means maybe Obama is not the Magic Negro after all. By the way, the pastor is pretty melodramatic, but have you been to an old school American Black church? Pure theater. But this guy’s basic point is true: that American Blacks (certainly those his age) know an America different from American Whites; they know a harsher, uglier America. But you’re not supposed to say that, because in America everything is fine and everyone is the same. So now that the pastor’s said it, maybe Obama thinks so too, and if Obama thinks so then he isn’t the Magic Negro and only a Magic Negro can win an American election. And what’s a Magic Negro, you ask? The black man who is eternally wise and kind. He never reacts under great suffering, never gets angry, is never threatening. He always forgives all kinds of racist shit. He teaches the white person how to break down the sad but understandable prejudice in his heart. You see this man in many films. And Obama is straight from central casting.

(Americanah, page 398)