Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


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Americanah – Important Quotes

1. “She liked, most of all, that in this place of affluent ease, she could pretend to be someone else, someone specially admitted into the hallowed American club, someone adorned with certainty.” (Chapter 1, p. 3)

This quote, early on in the narrative, expresses Ifemelu’s sense of alienation in America, as well as her desire to belong in her adopted country as she prepares to return to her homeland.

2. “She would always remember this moment, these words: I’m chasing you.” (Chapter 4, p. 72)

This quote sums up Ifemelu’s relationship with Obinze. He will always be the one pursuing her, chasing her, despite her lack of contact in America. He chases her right up until the novel’s close, when, having left his wife, he appears on her doorstep and repeats these words.

3. “And her joy would become a restless thing, flapping its wings inside her, as though looking for an opening to fly away.” (Chapter 4, p. 76)

This quote speaks to Ifemelu’s personality; she is a deeply restless individual who seeks out happiness and meaning in her life, but is then unable to accept that she deserves it. As soon as she experiences something profoundly good, be it a loving relationship or a stable job, she finds a way to self-sabotage.

4. “They roared with laughter, at that word ‘Americanah,’ wreathed in glee, the fourth syllable extended, and at the thought of Bisi, a girl in the form below them, who had come back from a short trip to America with odd affectations, pretending she no longer spoke Yoruba, adding a slurred r to every English word she spoke.” (Chapter 5, p. 78)

The book’s title comes into play here, with the word “Americanah” referring to Nigerians who travel to America and adopt its slang, accent, and world view, much to the derision of their Nigerian friends and family. Throughout the novel, Ifemelu teeters between judging those who adopt American customs and acknowledging that there are certain benefits in adopting America’s language and customs.

5. “Aunty Uju opened her mouth as though to say something and then she closed it…

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