Americanah

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Americanah Chapter 55 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Meanwhile Ifemelu is suffering for love as well: an idea she always found silly until she really experiences it now. Her memories of Obinze are vivid and painful, and she avoids going anywhere she might run into him. Ifemelu knows that Obinze still loves her, but is hurt by his halfhearted efforts of texting and calling instead of showing up at her door. Ifemelu writes a blog post about government workers pitilessly destroying the shacks and booths where poor hawkers were selling their wares. Someone comments “this is like poetry,” and Ifemelu knows that it is Obinze.
Once again Ifemelu finds herself living out the clichés she once had scorned. She knows that Obinze is still hesitant about giving up everything for her, and they know each other well enough to be at this communication standstill. Yet they aren’t totally out of contact, and they still live nearby, so there is a greater hope for reconnection than after their first breakup. Ifemelu continues to document the corruption she observes.
Themes
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
Ifemelu keeps writing more blog posts, but she always writes them with Obinze’s opinion in mind. She writes about the daily life she observes in Nigeria. The pain of Obinze’s absence doesn’t seem to get better with time, but Ifemelu feels complete, having come back to Lagos and “spun herself into being” with her new blog at home.
Ifemelu has now found success in Nigeria as well, and this is a kind of victory over her ongoing restlessness and struggle for identity—she feels comfortable and confident with herself as both an American and a Nigerian now, having found her place in the world with or without Obinze.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
Ifemelu calls Blaine to say hello and to tell him that she always thought he was too good and pure for her. She calls Curt and asks if he was the anonymous donor to her blog, but he denies it. He asks about her new blog, and whether it’s about race too. Ifemelu says that race doesn’t really exist in Nigeria—she “got off the plane in Lagos and stopped being black.” Curt tells her that he hasn’t felt the same about anyone else, and they make vague plans that he might visit sometime.
In her new contentment and solitude Ifemelu reaches back to her old boyfriends and makes more peace with her past. She repeats her earlier sentiment about “being black” only in America, and so now having other issues to write about in her Nigerian blog.
Themes
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
One night Ifemelu runs into Fred (the man from the Nigerpolitan Club) at a play. Fred starts up with his act of referencing Western cultural figures, until Ifemelu says she’d like to know what he’s like when he isn’t performing. Fred takes her to a nightclub later and then they go back to her apartment and watch films. They have sex, and Ifemelu likes him, but she cannot make herself feel anything strongly for him.
Ifemelu tries to find a new romance for herself outside of Obinze, but fails. Fred might have been her boyfriend at a different time in her life, but Ifemelu’s feelings for Obinze are still too strong right now. Fred is another man (like Emenike) to put up a pretense of Westernness to impress others.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
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Seven months after Ifemelu last saw Obinze, he appears at her door. She is surprised to see him. Obinze gives her a piece of paper, and says he has written out all his thoughts for her. He tells Ifemelu that he wants to be a part of Buchi’s life and see her every day, but he has moved into his own apartment and has stopped pretending to be happy with Kosi. He tells Ifemelu “I’m chasing you.” Ifemelu stares at him for a while and then says “Ceiling, come in.”
Obinze repeats the words he spoke to Ifemelu on their first night together. The book ends with yet another reunion between the two, and a tentative hope for the future. Everything is still complicated and painful, but they are at least being honest and open with each other now, and their love for each other is undiminished. Adichie ends with this mood of quiet contemplation, where self-love is just as important as romantic connection.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon