Friday, October 22, 2021

"Writing down what life dictated": The second-person narrator in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "The Thing Around Your Neck"

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short story "The Thing Around Your Neck" has a second-person narrator, Akunna, an immigrant from Nigeria to the United States. During her first longer conversation with her future boyfriend, a white customer at the restaurant where she works as a waitress, she contrasts herself with him after she learns about his time off from university to "discover himself": "You did not know that people could simply choose not to go to school, that people could dictate to life. You were used to accepting what life gave, writing down what life dictated." This explains the story's narrative perspective: with "you", the story "writes down what life dictates" to Akunna. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 October 2021)

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