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The Thing Around

Your Neck
Anna Seward and Amina Taylor

• 1800 British colonize Nigeria and divide it into North,

East, and West, largely separating the Igbo, Yoruba, and
Hausa tribes from each other
• 1960 Nigeria gains independence and tries to create a
unified Nigeria
• September 1967 violence against Igbo in Northern region
increases (deaths estimated at 30,000 probably around 8,000)
• As a result, many Igbo move to the southern parts of Nigeria
• May 1967 Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Ojukwu announces the
Republic of Biafra and the civil war begins
• Biafra gets aid from United States and Western Europe by
stressing the threat of genocide for the Igbo people, however
they continue to lose ground to the nationalists
• Nsukka falls in July
• War ends in January 1970 after over a million deaths and the
rebels are allowed back into a unified Nigeria

Biafran Civil War 1967-1970

• 1980s Christian/Muslim religious conflicts
• Emergence of more radical Islamic sects
• Major riots in five cities (including Kano in 1980)
• Largely due to migration of the rural poor into urban towns
• Military Rule and the Reign of Sani Abacha (1993-1998)
• Took over after the failed elections of 1993, declared
absolute power by 1994
• Numerous human rights abuses have made him known as
the Hitler of Nigeria
• Return to democracy with his death and the 1999

Modern Nigeria

 Adichie was born in 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria. She grew up

in Nsukka near the University of Nigeria where both of her
parents worked.
 Her father was a statistics professor and her mother a
registrar at the university.
 After studying medicine at the University of Nigeria,
Adichie moved to the United States at the age of 19 to
pursue a bachelor’s degree in communications and
political science.
 She went on to receive a master’s degree in creative
writing from John’s Hopkins University
 She currently lives in both Nigeria, where she regularly
teaches writing workshops, and the United States

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Career and Recognition

 In addition to novels, Adichie has successfully published a number of poems,

plays, and short stories
 Her works have been published both in the United States and Nigeria, speaking
to the Nigerian experience of colonization, Civil War, and immigration.
 Her previous works include: Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half the Yellow Sun
 She was shortlisted for the Orange Fiction Prize in 2004
 Following the publication of Purple Hibiscus, she received the Commonwealth
Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in 2005
 She was shortlisted in 2009 for the John Llewellyn-Rhys Memorial Prize
 She was recognized by The New Yorker in 2012 as one of the “20 under 40”

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie Cont.

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that
they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only
story.”- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

• Role of childhood in the short stories
• “The American Embassy” (especially pp. 140-141)
• “Tomorrow is too Far” (especially pp. 195-197)
• Narrative Style
• 1st Person: “Cell One”, “Ghosts”, “The Arrangers of Marriage”
• 2nd Person: “The Thing Around Your Neck”, “Tomorrow is too
• 3rd Person: “A Private Experience”, “The American Embassy”

• Library of Congress Country Studies: Nigeria
 http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/authorprofiles/p/
 http://www.l3.ulg.ac.be/adichie/cnabio.html
 http://www.ted.com/speakers/chimamanda_ngozi_adic


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