Two different worlds

“The Things Around Your Neck” depicts the relationship between America and Nigeria, or other African nations. Even America and Africa is far away and quite different worlds, the book depicts both world at the same time. Though Obiora and his family kept Nigerian culture, they somehow adjusted to the American culture. Obiora’s children went to school in the U.S. Their way of life is somehow Americanized.

On the other hand, “The Things Around Your Neck” depicts the African concept of marriage. Nkem would have considered being Ikenna’s forth wife (31). Nkem seems to suffer from polygamy system in Africa. This book depicts the agonizing of women because of polygamy and the African culture which has flexible notion about marriage. Nkem is jearous about her husband’s girlfriend. On the other hand, she tries to imitate the hair style of her husband’s girlfriend. Imitation is the method to depicts someone;s figure in itself.

As the imitation of hair style and mask, the book reflects both American and Nigerian culture in a society. Though they are separated different worlds, American society reflects Nigerian culture in itself as if it was imitation.

The “Ghosts” chapter depicts the ambiguousness of what we can see. People cannot tell whether dead people are ghost or not without throwing sand at the body. Fake drug is also ambiguous to tell whether it is a real drug or not. The book also depicts both real and metaphysical worlds. Those two different worlds depicted in the book make the society ambiguous. Since Nigerian people share the notion of the different worlds and know both of it, they can tell that they are imitation.

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About erika926nishihara

I am an international student from Japan. I lived in Kyoto. I major in International Relations. I am junior. My concentration of SIS is International Development in Africa.

Posted on November 20, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I agree with your view of imitation between two worlds, American and African. They play off each other in the short stories. It’s almost like asking what came first, “the chicken or the egg?”
    Moreover, on the Ghost story, the notion of having to see the dead or not and seeing what’s real and what isn’t, is almost like deciding what is more authentic, what is more original.

  2. In addition to the imitation of the two worlds as you’ve presented, I think that this ambiguousness just as much indicates themes of unattainable desire. Women in each situation try to imitate those in the other country, Nigeria and the United States, each wishing that they could be more like the culture overseas, whether it be more traditional and true Nigerian culture or glamorous, advanced American culture.

    I feel the ambiguousness of it all ends up demonstrating that the two worlds are not that separate after all. There is no right answer wherever they turn.

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