Americanah

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Obinze Maduewesi Character Analysis

The other protagonist, a calm, thoughtful, intelligent young Nigerian man. He is raised by his mother, a professor, and is very well-read and obsessed with America. He moves to England after graduating university and tries to become a citizen, but is ultimately deported. He then becomes rich selling real estate in Nigeria. He marries Kosi and has a child, but never falls out of love with Ifemelu, whom he dated as a teenager.

Obinze Maduewesi Quotes in Americanah

The Americanah quotes below are all either spoken by Obinze Maduewesi or refer to Obinze Maduewesi. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Race and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor edition of Americanah published in 2014.
Chapter 2 Quotes

And after you register your own company, you must find a white man. Find one of your white friends in England. Tell everybody he is your General Manager. You will see how doors will open for you because you have an oyinbo General Manager. Even Chief has some white men that he brings in for show when he needs them. That is how Nigeria works. I’m telling you.

Related Characters: Nneoma (speaker), Obinze Maduewesi, Chief
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

Obinze's cousin Nneoma has just gotten him some work with the "big man" Chief, and now Nneoma explains how Obinze can get even richer. On one level, this quote is part of Adichie's ironic, sometimes humorous criticism of Nigerian culture. The concept Nneoma outlines touches on the corruption Adichie sees at all levels of the Nigerian government, in which flattery, deceit, and an extravagant show of wealth are seen as common and even necessary traits.

This particular kind of corruption also deals with race and racism, however, as it's suggested that (black) Nigerian "big men" must hire white men to act like their "boss" in order to seem legitimate. The Nigerian is the real boss, but the English employee's whiteness gives him a kind of respectability and power (in society's eyes) that no amount of money can buy. Even in Nigeria, where race is much less of an issue than it is in America, whiteness is still seen as inherently better.

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Chapter 4 Quotes

But Obinze said little, and Kayode was left to carry the conversation, his voice getting boisterous, and from time to time he glanced at Obinze, as though to urge him on. Ifemelu was not sure when something happened, but in those moments, as Kayode talked, something strange happened. A quickening inside her, a dawning. She realized, quite suddenly, that she wanted to breathe the same air as Obinze.

Related Characters: Ifemelu, Obinze Maduewesi, Kayode
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the moment when Ifemelu and Obinze fall in "love at first sight." Originally Obinze was meant to be set up on a date with Ifemelu's friend Ginika, but then it turns out that Obinze is more interested in Ifemelu herself. This is an important scene because it starts off the love story that carries throughout the entire novel. Ifemelu and Obinze will eventually grow apart and live on different continents for decades, but they always share an intimate bond that begins with this somewhat idealized, nostalgically-portrayed teenage romance. Here Adichie also shows that for all her incisive cultural criticism, she also knows how to tug at the heartstrings with her language.

She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: a self-affection. He made her like herself. With him, she was at ease; her skin felt as though it was her right size.

Related Characters: Ifemelu, Obinze Maduewesi
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote comes from the same scene in which Obinze and Ifemelu first meet, but now they have begun explicitly talking and flirting with each other, and are alone together—experiencing a first intimate moment of connection. Adichie continues the language of teenage romance and young love here, but also introduces a crucial aspect of the relationship between the two protagonists—it is not only based on romantic love for each other, but also on self-love, or a particular way the relationship makes both of them feel more affirmed and comfortable with their identities. At this point in the story this particular quality is just another aspect of a young crush, but as Ifemelu goes through different relationships later in life, it will seem more and more important to her. With Obinze she can truly be herself—she doesn't have to modify or suppress her identity for someone else's sake, or explain why she does what she does.

Chapter 11 Quotes

Later, she said, “I have to take my braids out for my interviews and relax my hair… If you have braids, they will think you are unprofessional.”

“So there are no doctors with braided hair in America?” Ifemelu asked.

“I have told you what they told me. You are in a country that is not your own. You do what you have to do if you want to succeed.”

There it was again, the strange naivete with which Aunty Uju had covered herself like a blanket. Sometimes, while having a conversation, it would occur to Ifemelu that Aunty Uju had deliberately left behind something of herself, something essential, in a distant and forgotten place. Obinze said it was the exaggerated gratitude that came with immigrant insecurity.

Related Characters: Ifemelu (speaker), Aunty Uju (speaker), Obinze Maduewesi
Page Number: 146-147
Explanation and Analysis:

Aunty Uju has just passed her exams and is licensed to become a doctor in America, so she is planning out what she has to do to get a job practicing medicine—and part of this involves straightening her hair. This quote is an important explanation of the symbol of hair (and particularly black women's hair) in the novel, as Uju has learned that for a black woman to wear her hair naturally or in braids is considered "unprofessional"—or essentially, not white enough to be professional. Here Adichie is critiquing American culture for the way racism is ingrained at every level—even including standards of beauty and fashion—but also showing another way Uju's identity has been "subdued" by this society. In order to protect herself, it seems that Uju has given up an important part of her character, and this feels tragic to Ifemelu.

Obinze then has a good explanation for this (that immigrants are taught to be so grateful for being allowed to live in America that they submit to its society's racist practices), but it's also worth noting that Obinze himself is not yet an immigrant—he's still in Nigeria. He can observe this phenomenon from the outside, but it's only once he's illegally in England that he too can understand real racism and the pressures to conform and subdue one's own identity.

Chapter 22 Quotes

Later that day she would send an e-mail to Obinze’s Hotmail address: Ceiling, I don’t even know how to start. I ran into Kayode today at the mall. Saying sorry for my silence sounds stupid even to me but I am so sorry and I feel so stupid. I will tell you everything that happened. I have missed you and I miss you. And he would not reply.

“I booked the Swedish massage for you,” Curt said.

“Thank you,” she said. Then, in a lower voice, she added, to make up for her peevishness, “You are such a sweetheart.”

“I don’t want to be a sweetheart. I want to be the fucking love of your life,” Curt said with a force that startled her.

Related Characters: Ifemelu (speaker), Curt (speaker), Obinze Maduewesi
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point Ifemelu and Obinze have been separated by an ocean and several years of noncommunication, and this email is Ifemelu's first attempt at reaching across that gap. The separation between the two protagonists makes up the majority of the book, and its last parts describe how Ifemelu and Obinze gradually move closer to each other and reestablish the powerful connection and love they once had. At this point, however, we only see things from Ifemelu's point of view, and it seems like Obinze doesn't want to reconnect—he doesn't respond to the email.

Meanwhile, Ifemelu is dating Curt, a wealthy, handsome white man who introduces her to a world of spontaneous travel and luxurious living. Ifemelu is happy with Curt, but always feels like something is missing in their romance. Here it becomes clear that Curt feels no reservations whatsoever about Ifemelu—he wants to be the "love of her life"—but Ifemelu still feels a disconnect between herself and Curt.

Chapter 25 Quotes

Vincent’s Igbo had a rural accent. He put the National Insurance card on the table and was already writing his bank account number on a piece of paper. Iloba’s cell phone began to ring. That evening, as dusk fell, the sky muting to a pale violet, Obinze became Vincent.

Related Characters: Obinze Maduewesi, Iloba, Vincent Obi
Page Number: 310
Explanation and Analysis:

Obinze has been illegally living in England ever since his visa expired, and in order to find work he is forced to pay a Nigerian man with UK citizenship to use his identity card. Obinze's cousin Iloba finds a man named Vincent Obi, and Obinze promises Vincent a share of his salary in exchange for assuming his identity—essentially posing as a legal citizen. The crucial point here is the final line—"Obinze became Vincent"—as it shows just how much Obinze has compromised his identity in order to make a new life in England. Obinze is not just pretending to be Vincent; he is erasing his own identity, his own personhood, in order to assume an identity that the UK will accept. If he remains "Obinze," then to England he is nothing more than trash to be discarded.

Chapter 27 Quotes

The wind blowing across the British Isles was odorous with fear of asylum seekers, infecting everybody with the panic of impending doom, and so articles were written and read, simply and stridently, as though the writers lived in a world in which the present was unconnected to the past, and they had never considered this to be the normal course of history: the influx into Britain of black and brown people from countries created by Britain. Yet he understood. It had to be comforting, this denial of history.

Related Characters: Obinze Maduewesi
Page Number: 320
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Obinze reflects on the current environment in Europe, in which white people feel that their culture is under attack and fear that they will be "overrun" by immigrants from Africa or the Middle East. This is one of Adichie's overarching cultural criticisms of the West—that wealthy countries want to exploit poor countries, but then Western citizens feel afraid or hateful when the people from those exploited countries seek asylum.

This idea also shows how race and racism affect even people's views of history and memory. Adichie suggests that white Europeans choose to forget their history of colonialism precisely because its victims were so far away, and were people of color. And once this history comes back to haunt them, in the form of refugees and immigrants from countries exploited by colonial powers, it's easier for white Westerners to distance themselves from their past and only deal with their present fear—essentially separating themselves from history, and pretending that present events are happening in a vacuum, without precedent.

Chapter 29 Quotes

He was making fun of his wife, but Obinze knew, from the muted awe in his tone, that it was mockery colored by respect, mockery of what he believed, despite himself, to be inherently superior. Obinze had remembered how Kayode had often said about Emenike in secondary school: He can read all the books he wants but the bush is still in his blood.

Related Characters: Obinze Maduewesi, Kayode, Emenike, Georgina
Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote refers to Emenike, Obinze's old classmate from Nigeria, who has now come to England and become rich and successful, and has also married a white Englishwoman. Even as a teenager, Obinze remembers, Emenike was ambitious and would pretend to be richer than he was (he was actually from a very poor bush village). Now Emenike has assumed a new identity—that of the successful Englishman who also retains his Nigerian roots. Obinze will later learn that Emenike really is romantically in love with his wife (Georgina), but here Obinze only notices how Emenike holds his wife to a different standard because she is white. Emenike might complain about her or make fun of her, but he still considers Georgina inherently superior to himself. This is another of Adichie's cultural criticisms of how race is viewed in both the West and Nigeria—whiteness is assumed to be best, and this view is so normalized by those in power that even black Africans have developed an inferiority complex about their blackness.

This quote also suggests that Emenike may have been so successful in England precisely because he is so skilled at assuming new identities to fit his situation. When he was friends with the rich teens like Obinze, he pretended to be rich, and now he pretends to be fully English (but he also knows how to flatter white people and play his role as a "grateful immigrant"). Seemingly no one has any idea who the "real" Emenike is, as he has learned to adapt so well that he has no fixed identity or personality aside from his adaptiveness and ambition to better his social standing.

Chapter 30 Quotes

Obinze watched him leave. He was going to tick on a form that his client was willing to be removed. “Removed.” That word made Obinze feel inanimate. A thing to be removed. A thing without breath and mind. A thing.

Related Characters: Obinze Maduewesi
Page Number: 345
Explanation and Analysis:

Obinze has just been caught living without a visa in England, and now he is about to be deported back to Nigeria. He is allowed to see a lawyer, but Obinze feels defeated and decides he's not even going to argue his case. Because of this, he will now be "removed," and this word makes Obinze feel like a thing to be discarded, rather than a human being moving from one country to another. This is another instance of Obinze feeling "indentity-less" as someone living illegally in England, as if Obinze himself has disappeared and he has either "become" Vincent Obi (whose ID he was using) or has become nothing at all. This poignant moment also allows Adichie to critique the dehumanizing language used to describe immigrants and refugees, particularly those from non-white countries. It is much easier to lump them all together and dehumanize them than to deal with them as real people with real needs and desires—but acting this way allows white Westerners to avoid any sense of culpability for their fate.

Chapter 51 Quotes

Finally, he said, “I can’t imagine how bad you must have felt, and how alone. You should have told me. I so wish you had told me.”

She heard his words like a melody and she felt herself breathing unevenly, gulping at the air. She would not cry, it was ridiculous to cry after so long, but her eyes were filling with tears and there was a boulder in her chest and a stinging in her throat. The tears felt itchy. She made no sound. He took her hand in his, both clasped on the table, and between them a silence grew, an ancient silence that they both knew. She was inside this silence and she was safe.

Related Characters: Obinze Maduewesi (speaker), Ifemelu
Page Number: 543
Explanation and Analysis:

Ifemelu and Obinze have reconnected after decades apart, and now Ifemelu finally tells Obinze the story of why she broke off communication. This is a cathartic and poignant moment—one that most of the book has been leading up to—and also a lovely passage in itself, as Adichie intertwines language of the scene's intimate physicality and the vast significance of the moment in the emotional lives of both protagonists. The physical and interpersonal separation that made up the center of the novel—Ifemelu and Obinze's separation—is now in the process of being dissolved, as it seems that the two characters are reestablishing the powerful connection they once shared. In the arc of the novel's romantic plot, this also shows Ifemelu returning to her first true love, Obinze, after many relationships with other men in America.

Chapter 54 Quotes

Once she had told him, “The thing about cross-cultural relationships is that you spend so much time explaining. My ex-boyfriends and I spent a lot of time explaining. I sometimes wondered whether we would even have anything at all to say to each other if we were from the same place,” and it pleased him to hear that, because it gave his relationship with her a depth, a lack of trifling novelty. They were from the same place and they still had a lot to say to each other.

Related Characters: Ifemelu (speaker), Obinze Maduewesi
Page Number: 563
Explanation and Analysis:

Ifemelu and Obinze have rekindled their old romance, and feel like they are having a whirlwind teenage romance all over again. Here we see this from Obinze's point of view, as he reflects on something Ifemelu told him that made him feel special and affirmed in their relationship. The quote is a sign of the strong romantic love and connection that has survived for years between the two protagonists, but it also highlights issues Ifemelu experienced in her relationships back in America: mostly the problem of separation of experience or cultural misunderstanding. She was always having to explain things to Curt or Blaine, and vice-versa, because they all came from such different backgrounds and even experienced society and American culture in totally different ways (mostly because Ifemelu is a Black African, while Curt was a wealthy white American and Blaine was an African American and Ivy League professor).

Chapter 55 Quotes

The pain of his absence did not decrease with time; it seemed instead to sink in deeper each day, to rouse in her even clearer memories. Still, she was at peace: to be home, to be writing her blog, to have discovered Lagos again. She had, finally, spun herself fully into being.

Related Characters: Ifemelu, Obinze Maduewesi
Page Number: 585-586
Explanation and Analysis:

After reconnecting and rekindling their old romance, Ifemelu has "broken up" with Obinze again because of his refusal to leave his wife, Kosi. This quote then sums up a crucial kind of growth that Ifemelu has experienced over the course of the book, and particularly since returning to Nigeria—a new maturity of both romantic love and self-love. Though they are divided again, Ifemelu still loves Obinze deeply and feels the "pain of his absence," and yet at the same time Ifemelu also feels peaceful and whole without Obinze. She has finally found an identity for herself as a writer, as a woman, and as a Nigerian/American citizen.

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Obinze Maduewesi Character Timeline in Americanah

The timeline below shows where the character Obinze Maduewesi appears in Americanah. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...She found herself longing for Nigeria, and thinking about her first love, her old boyfriend Obinze. After the rude stranger at the supermarket insulted her, Ifemelu found herself goaded into action.... (full context)
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...friend in Lagos, Ranyinudo, seemed pleased. Ranyinudo was the one who had told Ifemelu about Obinze’s marriage, newfound wealth, and child. Ifemelu, overcome with emotion, had then sent Obinze an email... (full context)
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...the question and checks her phone. She feels suddenly reckless and composes an email to Obinze, sending it off without rereading it. Aisha refuses to be discouraged and repeats her question.... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Meanwhile Obinze, who is stuck in traffic in Lagos, Nigeria, receives Ifemelu’s email and reads it. In... (full context)
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Obinze’s driver, Gabriel, complains about the beggars in the street, but Obinze is suddenly in a... (full context)
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Obinze’s wife Kosi calls him, reminding him that they have a party that night with a... (full context)
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Buchi, who is a toddler, runs up to greet Obinze. Kosi asks him about work—he rents and sells property—and Obinze lies vaguely, and is then... (full context)
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Obinze remembers when he first came back from England years earlier, depressed about what had happened... (full context)
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Nneoma took Obinze to Chief’s extravagant home. Chief flirted with Nneoma, who introduced him to Obinze. For the... (full context)
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Obinze kept going back for several weeks, and Nneoma told him to just keep hanging around... (full context)
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One day Obinze spoke up and offered his services to help Chief. Chief sized Obinze up and then... (full context)
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Nneoma was excited about this, and told Obinze how it would work out: he would soon start his own company buying properties and... (full context)
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It did indeed turn out the way Nneoma described, and Obinze was amazed by how easy it suddenly was to make huge amounts of money. Years... (full context)
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Back in the present, Kosi leads Obinze through the guests at Chief’s party. She is very socially adept and always agreeable. Obinze... (full context)
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...a British, French, or American one. Kosi defuses any argument by agreeing with them and Obinze at the same time. Obinze notes that “she always chose peace over truth, was always... (full context)
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They reach Chief, who greets them expansively. Obinze wonders if Chief has ever propositioned Kosi, as he does so many women. A group... (full context)
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Obinze returns to Kosi. He wants to go home and write an email back to Ifemelu.... (full context)
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Obinze and Kosi return home, where their house girl Maria has cooked a meal. Obinze remembers... (full context)
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Obinze had then realized that Kosi felt insecure about the house girl. Kosi was worried whenever... (full context)
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Obinze goes into his study and listens to Fela, a famous Nigerian musician. He remembers listening... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...she was having a tantrum. Uju helped her all her life, including when she met Obinze, “the love of her life.” (full context)
Chapter 4
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When Ifemelu is a teenager, Obinze comes to her school from Nsukka. He lives with his mother, who was a professor... (full context)
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At a party at Kayode’s huge mansion, Kayode introduces Obinze to Ginika, who is there with Ifemelu. Kayode makes small talk, expecting Obinze to start... (full context)
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Ifemelu and Obinze dance and then go outside to talk. Obinze tells her about his childhood, and what... (full context)
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Obinze and Ifemelu discuss books. Obinze loves American literature and the classics, while Ifemelu only likes... (full context)
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Ifemelu and Obinze keep talking and flirting, and Ifemelu is surprised to hear that Obinze knows so many... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Obinze, on the other hand, seems worldly and comfortable among the rich popular students. He is... (full context)
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One day Obinze tells Ifemelu that his mother wants to meet her. Ifemelu is surprised, as usually kids... (full context)
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After that Ifemelu often visits Obinze’s mother at her apartment. One day the three of them are watching a movie, and... (full context)
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Obinze’s mother discusses sex frankly with the embarrassed Ifemelu. She says she knows how it is... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Ifemelu and Obinze decide which university they want to attend. Obinze wants to go to the University of... (full context)
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...far away it is. Some of her friends are going too, and also Emenike, whom Obinze agrees to room with. Later Obinze wonders if his mother’s fainting episode was deliberately planned... (full context)
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Ifemelu likes Nsukka, partly because it helps her understand where Obinze came from. She quickly becomes popular at the university, and befriends a young man named... (full context)
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...free time. Odein lives in Lagos as well, and he takes her to parties sometimes. Obinze finds out about this and gets jealous. Ifemelu says she is just curious about Odein,... (full context)
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The strike finally ends and Ifemelu goes back to Nsukka. Her relationship with Obinze is briefly disturbed by their fight over Odein. The harmattan (a dry, dusty trade wind)... (full context)
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...to go to the medical center and get a pregnancy test. Ifemelu feels angry at Obinze, though he offers to go with her. The girl at the medical center looks down... (full context)
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Ifemelu’s sickness worsens that night, and Obinze’s mother takes her to the doctor. In the car Ifemelu suddenly blurts out that she... (full context)
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After the surgery Ifemelu sits in the hospital bed and watches Obinze’s mother greet her parents. Ifemelu’s father is very impressed by Obinze’s mother and her education,... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...and suggests that Ifemelu come to America to study and help take care of Dike. Obinze thinks it is a good idea too, though he feels he must finish his degree... (full context)
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...be a “serious Americanah.” Ifemelu’s father gives her some money. Ifemelu has second thoughts, but Obinze tells her to go, assuring her that she will find work. Obinze’s mother says goodbye... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...feels a strong companionship with him, despite his young age. She writes long letters to Obinze. She befriends a family from Grenada in the next apartment: a young couple named Marlon... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Ifemelu visits Manhattan and is intimidated because of how Obinze had idealized it. Afterward she informs him that “it’s wonderful but it’s not heaven.” Ifemelu... (full context)
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...herself behind in Nigeria and cloaked herself in a “strange naiveté” since coming to America. Obinze tells Ifemelu that it is the “exaggerated gratitude that came with immigrant insecurity.” The summer... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...America and discovered that she’s supposed to have “issues” because she’s biracial. She says that Obinze should hurry up and come to America before someone snatches Ifemelu up, as she is... (full context)
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...At the party Ifemelu takes note of anything she finds strange or amusing, to tell Obinze later. (full context)
Chapter 13
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...her records will be frozen if she cannot pay her tuition fees. She talks to Obinze often and he helps keep her calm. She also calls Dike, who cheers her up.... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Ifemelu wants to learn more about American culture, and Obinze suggests that she read American books. He suggests a James Baldwin book for her, and... (full context)
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Mwombeki, a Tanzanian student who reminds Ifemelu of Obinze, gives Ifemelu and some other new students a “welcome talk” about America and its strange... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...uneasy, and finally decides to leave. She keeps applying to jobs, but doesn’t find anything. Obinze even sends her some money. Ginika helps Ifemelu with her job search, and finds her... (full context)
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...in the world. She keeps scrubbing at her hands. She finds herself unable to call Obinze. She calls Aunty Uju, who is pleased that she earned money and doesn’t even ask... (full context)
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After that the days pass in a haze. Ifemelu doesn’t answer Obinze’s calls, and she deletes his messages. She feels listless and hopeless all the time, and... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...buys some shoes and sends them to her mother. Her mother calls and says that Obinze came to visit her, and that Ifemelu needs to talk to him about whatever problem... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Ifemelu slips into a memory of Curt, her first serious boyfriend after Obinze. Curt is Kimberly’s cousin, and he visits from Maryland. He claims that he fell in... (full context)
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...smitten by Ifemelu, and she is pleased and amused by his compliments. She never mentions Obinze to him, as it would seem sacrilegious to refer to him as an “ex.” She... (full context)
Chapter 22
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One day Ifemelu is at a mall when she runs into Kayode, Obinze’s friend from high school. He says he still talks to Obinze, and Obinze had asked... (full context)
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...be “the fucking love of your life.” Later that day Ifemelu sends an email to Obinze, apologizing for her silence and saying that she misses him. He does not respond. (full context)
Chapter 23
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The narrative now follows Obinze, who has been in London for two years now. He is an illegal immigrant, as... (full context)
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A few days later Obinze meets Cleotilde, the young woman he is supposed to marry. He is surprised at how... (full context)
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Obinze and Cleotilde meet up again later, this time without the Angolans, and Cleotilde gets more... (full context)
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The Angolans take care of all the documents, and a mysterious man named “Brown” gives Obinze his driver’s license. A few days later Obinze brings his license to register for the... (full context)
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The sight of the Nigerian name makes Obinze feel melancholy, and makes him think of his mother. She had always been sad about... (full context)
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After he graduated university, Obinze had applied for an American visa, but he was denied many times. His mother said... (full context)
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Obinze’s mother said he should take this opportunity to see what he could do in England.... (full context)
Chapter 24
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In Obinze’s first months in England, the first job he finds is as a janitor cleaning toilets.... (full context)
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Obinze had been deeply hurt and unable to sleep when Ifemelu’s sudden silence began. He had... (full context)
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Back when Obinze first went to England, he stays with his cousin Nicholas. In Nigeria Nicholas had been... (full context)
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Obinze stays with Nicholas and Ojiugo, and reminisces with Ojiugo about how she and Nicholas used... (full context)
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Obinze is constantly waiting to hear back from a job, and always nervous. Nicholas’s young son... (full context)
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Nna talks back to Ojiugo, and Obinze wonders if she would allow that if Nna didn’t have a British accent. Ojiugo denies... (full context)
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...into a “mental problem,” even her simple love of food. Sometimes Ojiugo’s friends visit while Obinze is around. Ojiugo complains to them about how people don’t expect “people like us” to... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Obinze remembers his friend Emenike back in school. He was always very clever and ambitious, and... (full context)
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When Obinze first comes to England he calls Emenike right away. Emenike seems pleased to hear from... (full context)
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...who is so “posh” now and “doesn’t talk to ordinary people anymore.” Nosa asks about Obinze’s cousin Iloba. Obinze had forgotten that this cousin (who isn’t actually related to him) lived... (full context)
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Two weeks later Iloba finds a Nigerian man willing to lend Obinze his National Insurance card for a fee. Obinze goes to Iloba’s apartment, and his cousin’s... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Once a week Obinze allows himself to go into a coffee shop to read, so he can feel like... (full context)
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The woman mentions her husband, who died last year, and she looks longingly at Obinze, obviously attracted to him but still in mourning. The woman leaves with her boy, looking... (full context)
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Obinze gets on the train and sits across from a woman reading the newspaper. There are... (full context)
Chapter 28
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One day Obinze comes to work and can tell that something is different. Everyone acts awkwardly towards him,... (full context)
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That evening Vincent calls Obinze and says that he wants a raise; he wants forty-five percent of Obinze’s earnings now.... (full context)
Chapter 29
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The Angolans keep raising the price for Obinze to get the green card marriage, and they have Cleotilde’s passport as well so neither... (full context)
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Obinze wishes that Emenike would just give him the money, but Emenike rambles on, telling stories... (full context)
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Obinze slowly counts the money, feeling humiliated, and he wonders if Emenike hated him all those... (full context)
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Obinze watches Emenike and Georgina interact and realizes the way in which Emenike is different now:... (full context)
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Obinze arrives at their large home the next day and Emenike invites him into his study.... (full context)
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The guests arrive and Emenike introduces them to Obinze. One of them is a flamboyantly gay man, and Obinze thinks of how once in... (full context)
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...discusses his recent trip to America, and in doing so says “us Brits,” confirming to Obinze that he considers himself only British now. The other guests talk about America, particularly the... (full context)
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...an awkward silence and then dinner is served. The conversation turns to immigration, which makes Obinze tense up. (full context)
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...he tells it like an amusing anecdote. Earlier he had told the same story to Obinze, but explained how he was shaking with rage at the time. (full context)
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...England needs to remain open to refugees from wars in other countries, and she asks Obinze for his opinion. He agrees, but feels a shiver of alienation. He realizes that all... (full context)
Chapter 30
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On the day of his green card wedding Obinze borrows a suit from Nicholas, and Cleotilde wears a dress Obinze bought her. Obinze is... (full context)
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The policemen put Obinze in handcuffs and Cleotilde throws herself on the ground, crying, as he is taken away.... (full context)
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Obinze is led in handcuffs to the airport and put in a cell there with three... (full context)
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As he waits in the detention cell Obinze thinks of Ifemelu and considers contacting her. Iloba visits him and sometimes talks about lawyers,... (full context)
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Obinze is taken to a different cell in Dover. Finally a flight to Lagos is found... (full context)
Chapter 42
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Obinze checks his email obsessively, but it takes four days for Ifemelu to respond. Obinze looks... (full context)
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Ifemelu writes back an hour later. She says she is crying, and that Obinze’s mother was the only adult other than Aunty Uju “who treated me like a person... (full context)
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The email makes Obinze feel better, and he hopes that Ifemelu has broken up with Blaine. He tries to... (full context)
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...she has become depressed again, but is spending lots of time watching movies with Dike. Obinze reads the email and is shocked, as he can only remember Dike as a toddler.... (full context)
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Obinze’s wife, Kosi, interrupts his thoughts. She thinks he is distracted by work. They are driving... (full context)
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At the school Obinze, Kosi, Jonathon, and Isioma talk with the headmistress. She declares that many “high-level expatriates” send... (full context)
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At home Obinze reads all the posts from Ifemelu’s blog. He is surprised by the slangy American voice... (full context)
Chapter 45
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Over the next few weeks Ifemelu often thinks that she sees Obinze, but it always turns out to be a stranger. Ifemelu tries to find an apartment,... (full context)
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...like an Americanah anymore, and Ifemelu is pleased despite herself. Ranyinudo suggests she reconnect with Obinze, because he is rich now. Ifemelu can only shake her head, as for Ranyinudo men... (full context)
Chapter 49
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 50
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...Ifemelu apologizes, and Ranyinudo says that she is just emotionally frustrated, and needs to find Obinze. (full context)
Chapter 51
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...repeatedly warned her that Nigeria is a “high-risk country.” While there, she thinks she sees Obinze again and panics. It turns out to only be a stranger, but when she gets... (full context)
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...to be a “caving of the blue sky” before they embrace. Ifemelu talks awkwardly but Obinze remains calm. They go inside and sit down. Obinze turns off his phones and asks... (full context)
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They start to flirt, and Ifemelu asks Obinze about his new status as a rich man. Obinze complains about how undignified most Nigerians... (full context)
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Obinze reveals that he has visited America a few times, and isn’t as infatuated with it... (full context)
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Obinze says that he has to go, and they embrace and part ways. Immediately Obinze texts... (full context)
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They look at the peacocks, and discuss literature, and Obinze says that he does what is expected of rich people, and pays school fees for... (full context)
Chapter 52
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One day Obinze takes Ifemelu to a club he belongs to play table tennis. They sing along with... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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Obinze asks if Ifemelu is still with Blaine, and she says it doesn’t matter because Obinze... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 53
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...again and feeling all the heady romantic emotions of a teenager, except seemingly even stronger. Obinze tells her “you are the great love of my life,” and she believes him, but... (full context)
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For a long time neither one mentions Kosi, until one day Obinze says he wants to cook, as he isn’t allowed at home. Suddenly his marriage seems... (full context)
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They both start to cry, and then they hold each other and have sex. Obinze invites Ifemelu to come with him to Abuja, a town in central Nigeria, that Friday.... (full context)
Chapter 54
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Obinze goes to Abuja and imagines what Ifemelu would think of its atmosphere of rich businessmen... (full context)
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Obinze imagines what Ifemelu might be doing right now. He wonders if she realizes how obsessively... (full context)
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Obinze is at the airport headed back to Lagos when Kosi calls him to remind him... (full context)
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Nigel, Obinze’s old coworker, moved to Nigeria when Obinze asked him to become his “general manager,” instead... (full context)
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Nigel comes into the bathroom to ask Obinze what’s wrong. Obinze wants to tell Nigel about Ifemelu, but doesn’t. That night Kosi offers... (full context)
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Kosi puts her arms around him but Obinze gets up and goes to the bathroom. He impulsively empties Kosi’s bowl of potpourri into... (full context)
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The next morning Obinze wakes up feeling sad. He makes eggs for Kosi’s breakfast, plays with Buchi, and then... (full context)
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Obinze repeats his declaration and Kosi says she knows that he has been sleeping with Ifemelu,... (full context)
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Obinze sleeps in his study that night, and the next day Kosi acts like nothing has... (full context)
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Obinze and Kosi take Buchi to a child christening ceremony for Obinze’s friend’s son. Kosi tells... (full context)
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Obinze’s friend Okwudiba is at the party, and they greet each other joyfully. Obinze follows him... (full context)
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Obinze is colder and more frank than usual when he talks about the oil companies in... (full context)
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Okwudiba asks Obinze what’s wrong, and Obinze tells him that Ifemelu is back in town. Obinze says he... (full context)
Chapter 55
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 26
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The narrative picks up after Obinze quits his first job as a toilet cleaner. He next finds a job cleaning a... (full context)
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Obinze is then transferred to work at a new warehouse. His new boss, Roy Snell, is... (full context)
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One day Roy suggests that Obinze should find a girl for a “shag,” but Obinze says that he has a girlfriend... (full context)
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One day Nigel asks Obinze for advice about talking to a girl. Nigel admits that his girlfriend isn’t really his... (full context)