Americanah

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Americanah Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Finally Ifemelu starts feeling like she is truly home again. She no longer has to ask Ranyinudo for advice in going to the market, and she is used to waking up to the sound of peacocks. She gains some more weight, and vaguely thinks that she wants to lose it before she sees Obinze again. Her work at Zoe, however, becomes stifling. She is always supposed to interview the same rich, vapid women and mingle with advertisers at parties.
The focus of this final section (apart from Ifemelu and Obinze reconnecting) is Ifemelu finding a new identity for herself back in Nigeria. She is both American and Nigerian now, and must find her niche within both cultures, but now she is finally starting to feel comfortable and confident in Nigeria again.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
At one of these parties Ifemelu thinks she sees Obinze again. Ranyinudo has told her how beautiful Obinze’s wife is, and Ifemelu feels almost betrayed imagining Obinze’s mother meeting this other woman. At the same party Ifemelu sees Don, Ranyinudo’s boyfriend. He makes a halfhearted pass at her, because that is the way things are done: he is a “big man” and she is an attractive single woman.
Just as Obinze is jealous of Ifemelu’s ex-boyfriends, so Ifemelu is jealous of Kosi even after years of separation from Obinze—a separation that she initiated. At these parties Ifemelu experiences the Lagos culture Adichie criticizes, where men assume women will want them for their wealth.
Themes
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
At Zoe Ifemelu, Doris, and Zemaye all bicker. They have a meeting to discuss their articles with Aunty Onenu. Aunty Onenu doesn’t like it when Ifemelu is snarky or criticizes the people she interviews. During the meeting Ifemelu takes a call from Ranyinudo, as she is eager to get out of the meeting. Ranyinudo says that Don has been complaining that she isn’t a “sweet girl” anymore. Ifemelu knows that “sweet” just means malleable and submissive.
Ifemelu is used to being blunt and incisive with her writing, exposing the injustice behind mundane daily life, but Aunty Onenu just wants fluff pieces that fit her preconceived notion of a women’s’ magazine. Don plays his “big man” role completely, only wanting a woman who is submissive and adoring.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
Esther, the receptionist, has typhoid, but doesn’t know what kinds of pills the doctor gave her. Ifemelu suggests writing about this, as the pill bottles are unlabelled and could contain anything. Doris tells her to calm down and stop being such an activist, but this makes Ifemelu imagine starting her own blog about Lagos. Esther is very religious, and has diagnosed the staff with different spiritual ailments. Zemaye apparently has the “spirit of seductiveness.”
Ifemelu felt almost apathetic and naïve among Blaine’s friends, but here she finds herself a kind of activist, stirring up trouble and looking for the corruption infiltrating Nigerian society. Her dissatisfaction with Zoe will lead her to start her own blog once more, this time to observe and critique Nigerian life.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
Get the entire Americanah LitChart as a printable PDF.
Americanah.pdf.medium
Ifemelu keeps complaining about the boring interviews Aunty Onenu publishes, and Doris tells her that those rich women pay Aunty Onenu to write about them. She says that “a lot of things happen in this country like that.” Ifemelu says that she never knows where Doris stands on anything, and Doris suddenly gets angry and calls Ifemelu a “judgmental bitch.” Ifemelu mocks Doris’s appearance and how she sucks up to Aunty Onenu, and then walks out, feeling ashamed of the pettiness of what just happened. She decides to take it as a sign to start her own blog. On her way out, Esther suggests that Ifemelu has the “spirit of husband-repelling.”
Doris gets annoyed with Ifemelu’s attempts at activism, telling her to just accept that corruption is everywhere and stop trying to make trouble about it. Ifemelu’s attempt at working for someone else fails in this dramatic and farcical scene, and so she decides to do what might have been predicted all along: start her own blog. Esther’s super-religious worldview ironically coincides with Ifemelu’s friends’ obsession with marriage.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon