Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

In Class Writing on _Americanah_ Passage

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During class, I chose the passage starting on page 452 with “I will go see Chijoke tomorrow…” to page 454 “…Dike was swallowing a bottle of pills.”

This passage marks the moment when Ifemelu enters the present frame continuously because she finally leaves the hair salon and before this moment most of the narration takes place with in her head. As a reader, we are thrown straight into Ifemelu’s discovery of Dike’s attempted suicide. The end of the past frame and entrance into the current catapults and emphasizes the surprise and extremity of the event for Ifemelu; and the abrupt ending style of the way the novel is previously told, emphasizes the importance and life-changing factor that Dike’s attempted suicide is for Ifemelu. Another way for understanding that the passage marks the importance of the event for Ifemelu is through understanding that Adichie’s writing style does not give evaluative descriptions about events–like “this was really important to Ifemelu”–readers instead live along with the characters and do not get omniscient narrator point of view; and through this abrupt change in frames, it displays the unsettled-ness of Ifemelu when she receives the news–no longer is she in the hair salon where she has been for the first part of the novel, but walking around a busy city.

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