Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Americanah Chapters 3-6 Summary & Analysis

Part 2:

Chapter 3 Summary: 

Back in the hair braiding salon, Aisha tries to convince Ifemelu to speak to her boyfriend, but Ifemelu demurs. Ifemelu flashes back to her teenage years, which were marked by her mother’s dramatic religious conversion. Ifemelu’s mother goes from church to church, becoming more devout, and “Ifemelu watched her mother’s essence take flight” (50). Ifemelu’s father regards the scene with quiet “exasperation” (51). Ifemelu’s Aunty Uju, a young doctor with dreams of opening a clinic, finds a wealthy mentor in a government official called The General. Soon afterwards, Ifemelu’s father loses his civil service job “for refusing to call his new boss Mummy” (56). He sinks into a depression, rarely moving from the couch. One day, at church, Ifemelu argues with Sister Ibinado, a snooty, self-righteous member of the congregation and is sent home after she objects to making flower garlands for men she considers corrupt. Her mother is furious, but Uju manages to diffuse the situation, reminding Ifemelu that “‘You don’t have to say everything’” (65).

Chapter 4 Summary: 

The next chapter continues in flashback, to Ifemelu and Obinze’s secondary school years. Obinze, a handsome new student, arrives at Ifemelu’s school, and the other boys decide that he should date Ginika, the prettiest girl in their year. However, Obinze takes an immediate liking to Ifemelu. At a party, the two dance and then go outside to get to know one another. They discuss Obinze’s mother, a professor with strong convictions, and Obinze declares his intention to “chase” (72) Ifemelu. Ifemelu is intrigued, and they debate their favorite books and Nigerian proverbs. They kiss and agree to start dating. Both fall hard and fast for each other. Obinze cheers Ifemelu on at debate club until even her own friends complain and she sits on the sidelines at his football games. Still, Ifemelu is not content. “Sometimes she worried that she was too happy” (76). 

Chapter 5 Summary:

Since Obinze chose Ifemelu over Ginika, the girls’ friendship suffers, and “Ifemelu felt burdened with guilt” (77). Then, Ginika’s father announces that the family will be moving to America….

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