Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Americanah Chapters 34-37 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 34 Summary: 

At a Blogging While Brown convention in Washington DC, Ifemelu runs into Blaine, whom she has not seen for nearly a decade since their fateful train conversation. They recognize each other immediately, and he apologizes for not returning her calls. He was in a relationship at the time, but is now single. They flirt long-distance from Baltimore to New Haven, where he still lives and works as a professor at Yale, and then begin visiting each other. They begin dating, and Ifemelu is impressed by the fact that he does not have “a normal spine, but…a firm reed of goodness” (383). As she works from home, she is free to visit Blaine often, and does so. He introduces her to organic food, a chemical-free life, and she imagines their future together, with Blaine as “a perfect father, this man of careful disciplines” (384).

Blaine begins to influence her blog. Her posts begin to sound more academic, less like her. She tells him that she only wants to observe, not explain, but he insists she has a duty to instruct. To do otherwise is “lazy” (387), a word he uses often. He is horrified when Ifemelu allows a white woman to touch her hair. “‘How else will she know what hair like mine feels like?’” (388) Ifemelu responds. She feels out of place among his friends, who look “at the world with an impractical, luminous earnestness” (388) that she does not feel. When she tells her parents about Blaine, they are happy, but insist he visit Nigeria and conduct wedding preparations in the proper way. Ifemelu reminds them that they are going slowly.

Chapter 35 Summary: 

Blaine’s sister, Shan, has a breakdown. Shan, a tempestuous writer, has a book coming out soon and is having a meltdown. She comes to visit them, and Ifemelu is struck by her “natural authority” (392); she has the “air of a person who was somehow chosen” (393). Shan and Ifemelu discuss Shan’s book, a memoir, as well as Ifemelu’s perspective on American race relations. Ifemelu offers to let Shan be a…

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