Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Americanah Chapters 23-26 Summary & Analysis

Part 3:

Chapter 23 Summary:

The perspective switches to Obinze, who is living in London. He walks through the streets, feeling invisible, as though he has no purpose. He has lived in London for several years, working illegally under another man’s name. He is in the process of completing a sham marriage to a UK citizen, which will give him citizenship. He remembers first meeting the marriage brokers, Angolan men who demanded large sums of money and introduced him to Cleotilde, a “dewy and fresh” half-Nigerian girl. She agrees to marry him. He applies for a marriage license, and the clerk congratulates him. He thinks back to his final year in university, when General Abacha died. Obinze’s plan was: “to get a postgraduate degree in America, to work in America, to live in America” (287), but he was denied a visa. He searched for jobs in Nigeria but found nothing. His mother, having accepted an invitation to a conference in London, put Obinze on her visa as a research assistant, buying him a six-month visa to the UK. Obinze is shocked that his always honest mother would lie for him. “It went against everything she had taught him, yet he knew the truth had indeed, in their circumstance, become a luxury” (290). 

Chapter 24 Summary: 

In London, Obinze gets a job cleaning toilets, giving a percentage of his earnings to the man he is impersonating, a man allowed to work in England. After a particularly disgusting night’s work, he quits his job. That night, he receives Ifemelu’s apology email and thinks back to her “brutal and complete” (239) silence. Unable to tell her what his life is like and still angry at her betrayal, he deletes the email.

Obinze lives with his cousin Nicholas and his family. As he searches for a new job, he helps care for the two children, who have developed British accents and are carefully cultivated by their parents, playing instruments, participating in spelling bees, and attending the best schools. He notices that the children are indulged by Nigerian standards, and are even allowed to argue with…

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