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Monthly Archive for October, 2018

Amelia beat me to the punch here, but I found myself wondering many of the same things as her. Yvonne and Huda have left their home country and made successful lives for themselves as independent women, but most of the book revolves around their relationships with men. I like them as characters, and want them […]

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Hanan al-Shaykh’s The Occasional Virgin is quoted as a “frank and fearless novel” on the inside of the book’s jacket.  There are many things both frank and fearless about this novel, but in particular is the author’s handling of sexuality; the sexual acts in this novel highlight the differences not only between Huda and Yvonne’s […]

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The Occasional Virgin is about two Lebanese women struggling to find their identities between the pressures of their successful businesses and their traditional families and personal desires. The struggles that Yvonne and Huda go through remind me of a song that the Sweet Tones has covered a couple of times: “Quiet,” sung by MILCK.  This […]

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The Occasional Virgin confused me a bit. On one hand, it is a feminist novel, on the other it is not. The main characters, Yvonne and Huda, are “liberated” women. They have successfully left their home in Lebanon and made names for themselves out in the world. The two women have escaped oppression and fought […]

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While Hanan al-Shaykh’s The Occasional Virgin and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah are two very different novels, there are also many similarities between them. One of the earliest similarities was a section about Huda’s hair – “This hair-washing involved an elaborate process of applying oil and allowing it to soak in, then washing it, spreading shea butter […]

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Purity is a topic that has been explored in almost every single one of the works for this class. Often, there is some kind of significance to it—religion, culture/tradition, etc. In any case, a woman’s virginity is synonymous with her worth as a human being. A woman’s virtue also leads to her being respected by […]

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Thoughts on The Occasional Virgin

A theme of this book is women’s powerlessness in a male-dominated society, particularly when it is backed with religious beliefs and traditions. In some ways, I felt like Huda and Yyvonne are slamming into a brick wall every time they try to make the man see the inconsistency of their beliefs or even see a woman’s point […]

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Music in “Americanah”

Throughout Americanah, Adichie presents many facets of African culture from the highbrow intellectual touchstones to the more everyday pop culture references that shape Ifemelu’s world from childhood to adulthood. This transition from youth is shown from the cultural references she makes at the beginning of the novel when she describes her first connection with Obinze. […]

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In the book, “Americanah” by Chimamanda Adichie, she talks about her character Ifemelu facing racism and dealing with the American way of seeing an African American. The part that I specifically want to focus on in this blog post is the relationship Ifemelu and Curt. I also want to talk about the fact that Curt’s […]

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Chimamanda Adiche says that a lot of the American readers of Americanah don’t seem to understand the humor of the story.  As an American, I agree with her – I think a lot of what was supposed to be funny went over my head.  I was able to pick out things that seemed sardonic, but not […]

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Barack Obama’s voice rose and fell, his face solemn, and around him the large and resplendent crowd of the hopeful. Ifemelu watched, mesmerized. And there was, at that moment, nothing that was more beautiful to her than America.  This quote from page 448 started my reflection about this book because it shows how contradictory a […]

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The relationship between Obinze and Kosi is complicated, to say the least.  It is clear that Obinze cares for his wife, even if he doesn’t love her. He listens to her pleas to reconsider his decision for divorce to an extent, and he has always taken care of her in the years of their marriage. […]

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The Theme of Books In Americanah

One of the things that caught my attention over the course of the book was Ifemelu’s choices in literature. She is an extraordinarily intelligent woman, yet she is often reading Essence magazine, amongst other “racially skewed” and seemingly beneath her works. In earlier scenes I remember Obinze trying to convince her to read more of […]

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Immigration in Americanah

One of the many issues regarding immigration that stood out in Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah was how Ifemelu and Obinze had very different experiences interacting with other African immigrants. Some of Ifemelu’s first interactions with other immigrants were in college. In one of her classes, she met a girl from Kenya who invited her to join […]

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Fela Kuti

By the time the Nigerian star Fela Anikulapo-Kuti died in 1997 at age 58, he’d become the Beethoven, Che Guevara, Allen Ginsberg, and Malcolm X of African popular music. His funeral in Lagos drew bigger crowds than the burial ceremonies for the country’s former heads of state. Known simply as Fela to a global legion […]

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Exercise 3

Write a story that begins with one of these images as the inspiration for the first scene and ends with a second image as the inspiration for the final scene. You should attempt to include as any of the small details in those images as you can as a means of evoking the physical world you’re […]

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Thoughts on Americanah

Americanah is my favorite work that we have read in class so far. Adichie addresses a multitude of controversial topics in her novel, from racism to suicide, with a refreshing frankness.  Ifemelu does not immediately find her voice and a platform to make herself heard, but, when her blog begins to attract attention, she is […]

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The Outsiders in Americanah

Something that Chimamanda Adichie does well is place her readers in the heads of her characters.  Adichie doesn’t waste time in the first few chapters of Americanah; she knows who her characters are and the story she wishes to tell.  Adichie isn’t afraid to make her readers uncomfortable.  She knows her audience and she writes with that […]

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Nomenclatures of Invisibility by Mahtem Shiferraw My ancestors are made with water— blue on the sides, and green down the spine; when we travel, we lose brothers at sea and do not stop to grieve. Our mothers burn with a fire that does not let them be; they whisper our names nomenclatures of invisibility honey-dewed faces, […]

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Interracial Love in Americanah

Interracial love is a topic that is explored in Americanah. Adichie doesn’t shy away from the brutal honesty that still plagues many interracial couples in present day—the idea that one should not date outside of their race and how both members of the relationship must cope with this idea. She isn’t afraid to call attention […]

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In the beginning of AMERICANAH, the character of Ifemelu has been unwilling to conform. The reader (and I) could tell that she is a strong and independent, having a sense of nationalism and pride in her culture. When Ifemelu came to the United States, she saw strong examples of other conforming (ex. aunt Uji changing […]

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Dark and Lovely After Take-Off (A Future) by Yona Harvey Nobody straightens their hair anymore. Space trips & limited air supplies will get you conscious quick. My shea-buttered braids glow planetary as I turn unconcerned, unburned by the pre-take-off bother. “Leave it all behind,” my mother’d told me, sweeping the last specs of copper thread […]

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“My full and cool hair would work if I were interviewing to be a backup singer in a jazz band, but I need to look professional for this interview, and professional means straight is best but if it’s going to be curly then it has to be the white kind of curly, loose curls or, […]

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While re-reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, I was reminded of a quote from an essay written by Zora Neale Hurston, found in The Best American Essays of the Century by Joyce Carol Oates. In her essay titled “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” Hurston writes about her first encounters with the idea of race, […]

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Some Thoughts on “Americanah”

Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah is a work of fiction that tackles many of the issues immigrants in America face. Many themes emerge throughout the text, including the racism present in current society, love and relationships in a romantic context, and most importantly personal identity. While all of these topics are relevant and essential components to Americanah, I believe […]

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