Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Americanah – Chapters 42-44 Summary & Analysis

Part 5:

Chapter 42 Summary: 

Obinze check his email constantly, waiting for Ifemelu’s reply. It has been four days, and he wonders if she has “become the kind of woman who waited four whole days” (458) to respond, though she never used to be coy. He Googles her blog, finding himself jealous of Blaine. In his email, he told Ifemelu of his mother’s death, which was unexpected and devastating. Ifemelu replies to his email, expressing great sorrow for his mother’s death and explaining that something is going on with Dike. He writes back to her, giving her all of his contact information. She waits days before responding, offering more details about Dike’s suicide attempt and promising to be in touch. Obinze thinks of Dike as a toddler, who was now a young man who “had tried to kill himself” (462).

He and Kosi go to an open house for a local primary school to see whether it would be acceptable for their daughter. Kosi debates with the other parents about various educational philosophies, and they then watch a Christmas play put on by the children, in which fake snow is used. “‘Are they teaching children that Christmas is not a real Christmas unless snow falls like it does abroad?’” (463) one parent wonders. Obinze has no opinion. That night, he reads through the archives of Ifemelu’s blog, feeling “as though she had become a person he would no longer recognize” (465). 

Part 6: 

Chapter 43 Summary: 

Ifemelu stays with Uju and Dike after he comes home from the hospital. Ifemelu is frightened for him. “Why? Why had he done it? What was on his mind?” (469). She blames Aunty Uju for not providing Dike with a stronger sense of belonging and identity. “‘You told him what he wasn’t but you didn’t tell him what he was’” (470), she claims. Uju gently reminds her that Dike is depressed; this is no one’s fault. Dike’s friends and family rally around him. Ifemelu takes Dike to Miami for his birthday, and he tells her she should go back to Nigeria, as she planned….

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