Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Americanah Chapters 14-16 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 14 Summary: 

At her college orientation, Ifemelu is spoken to condescendingly by a student worker and realizes that her foreign accent makes Americans think she doesn’t speak English. She begins to practice an American accent. Though her schoolwork is easy compared to that in Nigeria, she dislikes having to participate in class discussions. She decides to be a communications major, yet is baffled by the way Americans communicate—they avoid giving direct instructions and use phrases like “you’re all set” (165). She worries about money, borrowing textbooks from friends. Eager to understand the new world around her, Ifemelu begins to read American books and discusses them with Obinze. “And as she read, America’s mythologies began to take on meaning” (167). Slowly, she begins to incorporate American words into her speech, much to Obinze’s amusement.

During a class discussion on the use of racial slurs in the movies Roots, an African student debates with an American-born black student. The African student, Wambui, invites Ifemelu to a meeting with the African Students Association. Ifemelu makes friends, finds kinship in the students’ struggles, and is offered job hunting tips. Though she goes on more interviews, she still does not find a job. Uju calls her to complain about Dike, now a third grader, who was found in his daycare’s closet with a girl, both of them showing each other their genitals. Uju blames this on the daycare, but Ifemelu has learned about child psychology at college, and assures Uju this is normal behavior. Uju disagrees and states her intention to move with Bartholomew to rural Massachusetts. 

Chapter 15 Summary: 

Ifemelu answers an advertisement for a female personal assistant. The potential employer, a tennis coach, greets her and shows her around his apartment. He informs her that despite what was written in the ad, he is looking for someone to help him “relax” (177). Ifemelu will be expected to massage him, with the clear implications of sexual activity afterwards. Ifemelu asks for time to consider this, noting that “He had said this to many other women, she could tell…He was not a kind…

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