Americanah

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Americanah Chapter 52 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
One day Obinze takes Ifemelu to a club he belongs to play table tennis. They sing along with new Nigerian music as they drive. After playing table tennis they have lunch. Ifemelu feels “relaxed and happy,” and she suggests Obinze should write an article for her blog. She talks more about her blog, and a rich man she is looking to interview. Obinze is clearly jealous of him, and this pleases Ifemelu.
This is a strange new courtship, but it is definitely a courtship. Obinze and Ifemelu are newly smitten with each other even after decades of being apart. They still avoid mentioning Kosi or Blaine (whom Obinze thinks Ifemelu is still dating).
Themes
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
They keep going out for meals each day, and Ifemelu stores the happy memories of buying food from hawkers (merchants selling food to passersby) with Obinze. Whenever he drops her off, Obinze always kisses Ifemelu on the cheek, but one day she tells him that she bought some condoms. She says they are obviously “hot for each other.” She suddenly gets angry that he can drop her off and go off to his other life with his wife and child.
This is almost like their old idyllic relationship in school, as Ifemelu and Obinze ignore all the complications and baggage both of them carry. When they start to get more serious, however, real life intrudes.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Obinze asks if Ifemelu is still with Blaine, and she says it doesn’t matter because Obinze is married. He gets her to invite him into her apartment, but there Ifemelu starts to taunt him about cheating on his wife. Obinze gets up and leaves. A few minutes later he comes back and apologizes. He says he doesn’t like Ifemelu referring to “what they have” as something normal or common like cheating.
Ifemelu acts somewhat rebelliously and self-destructively again, but only because she still feels the many layers of separation and pretense between herself and Obinze. Obinze sees their love as something pure and holy—his marriage to Kosi is more like cheating on Ifemelu than vice versa.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
They start to kiss and then have sex. Ifemelu had never liked the phrase “making love,” but she feels that it applies to them now. She tells Obinze “I always saw the ceiling with other men.” Obinze tells her that he has always felt as if he was waiting to be happy. They eat oranges together and Ifemelu feels complete. She falls asleep and wakes up to Obinze calling her, asking if he can come back to see her.
Ifemelu stops fighting against it and they finally experience this blissful reunion of passion and love. They are both older and more worldly now, but they feel like teenagers once again. The sardonic Ifemelu even finds the phrase “making love” to be sincerely applicable.
Themes
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
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