Americanah

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Americanah Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On the day of his green card wedding Obinze borrows a suit from Nicholas, and Cleotilde wears a dress Obinze bought her. Obinze is nervous but excited for the freedom the marriage will bring. Iloba takes pictures of the couple, and when it is their scheduled time, they go to the civic center. When they walk inside two policemen confront Obinze. They ask him for his name, and Obinze recognizes that it is all over. They say that he is “not allowed to be present in the UK.”
The marriage is basically a business transaction, but there is a romantic element as well, because of Obinze and Cleotilde’s mutual attraction. Obinze is also excited to finally become a legal citizen, and to be able to live and work under his own name. It is never said what went wrong, whether the Angolans betrayed Obinze or it was just bad luck.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
The policemen put Obinze in handcuffs and Cleotilde throws herself on the ground, crying, as he is taken away. The policemen ignore her, however, as she is a legal citizen. Obinze is taken to a cell. A lawyer visits him and looks relieved when Obinze says he is willing to return to Nigeria. He is desperate to retain a little dignity. He watches the lawyer check off a box saying that his client is willing to be “removed.” The word makes Obinze feel like a thing, not a person.
Just as he was about to regain his full personhood as a citizen of England, Obinze is arrested and dehumanized yet again. He doesn’t struggle to remain in England, as the process has broken his spirit and ambition. He feels like a thing now, something which has been found wanting and must be returned.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
Obinze is led in handcuffs to the airport and put in a cell there with three other Nigerian men. They all talk familiarly with each other, some of them comparing their experiences of being deported other times before. They all plan on coming back and trying again. Obinze avoids talking to them, but is jealous of their confident plans.
These other men might be fleeing more desperate circumstances in Nigeria, and so they don’t feel as distraught and dehumanized by being deported as Obinze does.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
As he waits in the detention cell Obinze thinks of Ifemelu and considers contacting her. Iloba visits him and sometimes talks about lawyers, but sometimes just laments how close Obinze was to achieving his goal. On his last visit Iloba starts crying. Nicholas and Ojiugo visit him as well, but they treat him as if he is in a hospital and not about to be deported.
Obinze’s friends react to his deportation in different ways, just as Obinze reacts differently from the other Nigerian men being deported alongside him. In any time of strong emotion Obinze thinks of Ifemelu.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
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Obinze is taken to a different cell in Dover. Finally a flight to Lagos is found for him, and he is marched through the airport in handcuffs along with five other men and two women. They are seated at the back of the plane. When they land, an immigration officer fetches them, and immediately asks for a bribe. Obinze steps outside and feels light-headed and sad. His mother is waiting for him outside the airport.
The whole experience is like a bad dream, and Obinze wakes up to find himself right back where he started. For someone as intelligent and ambitious as Obinze, his failure in England is a crushing disappointment. He returns to Nigeria and immediately to a different kind of corruption from England.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon