The Thing Around Your Neck: Summary & Analysis Video

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

'The Thing Around Your Neck' is a collection of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Since there are twelve stories in total, you might have a tough time keeping the details straight. In this lesson, we will take a quick glimpse at each of the twelve stories.

Summary & Analysis of Stories 1-4

The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that was published in 2009.

The first story is called Cell One. It follows the tale of the narrator's brother, Nnamabia, who begins to get in trouble as a teenager. He steals jewelry from his mother and even though everyone knows he did it, they wait until he confesses to punish him. Later, a group of 'cult boys' carjacks a professor and shoots three other boys. The narrator's family is told that Nnamabia has been arrested. Initially, Nnamabia seems to enjoy his cell, but soon is deeply disturbed when an old man is thrown in and abused. He stands up for the old man and is abused as well. The day of his abuse is the last day in the cell, and he is released to his family at the end of the story.

The second story is called Imitation and is about a Nigerian woman who lives in America while her husband works away from home. She finds comfort in her maid who is also Nigerian, but soon begins to think that her husband is cheating. The story focuses on how she feels close to the person who cleans her home.

The third story is called A Private Experience that deals with the relationship between Igbo Christians and Hausa Muslims. In this story, two women are hiding in a store from a riot brought on by religious violence. Chika is a Christian and the other woman is a Hausa Muslim. Even though ~Hausa Muslims are hacking down Igbo Christians with machetes, clubbing them with stones'' the two women are brought together and share conversation and advice about motherhood.

The fourth story is called Ghosts and is about a man who runs into someone he thought was dead. This story is the only once told from a male perspective. The narrator is a retired math professor, and he speaks with the man he thought had died. As it turns out, the man somehow escaped the violence in the area years earlier, but is not willing to tell the narrator how.

Summary & Analysis of Stories 5-8

The fifth story, On Monday of Last Week is about a Nigerian woman who goes to America as a nanny. While she is there, she develops a sexual attraction to the woman whose child she is watching.

The sixth story is called Jumping Monkey Hill and it explores a tale about a woman named Ujunwa who attends a writing workshop in South Africa. Ujunwa experiences sexism at the hands of the white man who runs the workshop.

The seventh story is the one called The Thing Around Your Neck. This story is about a Nigerian woman, named Akunna, who wins a visa lottery and goes to live with her uncle in America. He sexually abuses her and she runs off, eventually meeting a white boyfriend. Her father passes away and the story ends with her not responding when her boyfriend asks if she will come back from visiting her family for the funeral.

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