Half of a Yellow Sun

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Olanna Ozobia Character Analysis

One of the novel’s main protagonists, the beautiful daughter of Chief Ozobia. Olanna’s parents are shallow and greedy, but she has a strong character and sense of morality. She studied sociology in London and then moved back to Nigeria. She was seriously involved with a Hausa named Mohammed, but then left him for Odenigbo, whom she loves deeply. Olanna and her family are Igbo, and so are greatly affected by the massacres and the war. During the war Olanna teaches children and helps with the refugee camps.

Olanna Ozobia Quotes in Half of a Yellow Sun

The Half of a Yellow Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Olanna Ozobia or refer to Olanna Ozobia. 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:
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of Half of a Yellow Sun published in 2006.
Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

She would not let him make her feel that there was something wrong with her. It was her right to be upset, her right to choose not to brush her humiliation aside in the name of overexalted intellectualism, and she would claim that right. “Go.” She gestured toward the door. “Go and play your tennis and don’t come back here.”
She watched him get up and leave. He banged the door. They had never had a quarrel; he had never been impatient with dissent from her as he was with others. Or it may simply be that he humored her and did not think much of her opinions in the first place.

Related Characters: Olanna Ozobia (speaker), Odenigbo
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

When Odenigbo's mother meets Olanna at Odenigbo's house, she accuses her son's girlfriend of being a barren, overeducated "witch" who is cursed because she did not nurse with her mother. Upset, Olanna leaves Odenigbo's house abruptly. When Ugwu tells Odenigbo what happened, he goes to Olanna's university-issued flat, where she rarely sleeps, and tells her not to worry about his mother, who he claims struggles with being a village woman in a modern world. Olanna is offended that he does not defend her (Olanna), but rather excuses his mother, and in this quote, she tells Odenigbo to leave. Olanna soon realizes that this is the first time they have fought, though Odenigbo quarrels nightly with the people who visit his salon. Olanna wonders if, like her parents and Miss Adebayo, he sees her as a pretty face whose education is dismissible and whose ideas are quaint but do not matter. She suddenly becomes ill at ease with Odenigbo's presumptuous intellectualism, and the confidence that she used to admire, and instead views it as pompous and pretentious. As a pretty rich girl, Olanna has fought her whole life to be heard for her thoughts and not for her status and appearance. This is a fight that few would pity, but it has left her weak and voiceless in many situations, and this quarrel marks the first fight in a long journey for Olanna to find her personal strength.

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Olanna had wanted to give the scent of his mother’s visit some time to diffuse before telling him she wanted to have a child, and yet here he was, voicing her own desire before she could. She looked at him in wonder. This was love: a string of coincidences that gathered significance and became miracles.

Related Characters: Olanna Ozobia, Odenigbo, Odenigbo’s Mother (Mama)
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

Even before Olanna and Odenigbo reconcile, Olanna decides that she wants to have a baby with Odenigbo, as a kind of proof of their love and future together. While in bed one morning, Odenigbo sleepily tells Olanna that he wants them to have a child together. As Olanna has not yet voiced her wish to Odenigbo, she sees this mutual desire as a sign of the strength of their lasting relationship together, despite their occasional differences in opinion (and Adichie phrases this realization in a quite lyrical way). Odenigbo's brash, often overly-intellectualized opinions can sometimes erase his decisions of any kind of compassion or sentiment. By contrast, Olanna, though highly intelligent and educated, tends to follow her heart in matters of opinions and decisions, a difference that usually binds, but occasionally divides them.

Part 2, Chapter 11 Quotes

She opened the calabash.
“Take a look,” she said again.
Olanna looked into the bowl. She saw the little girl’s head with the ashy-gray skin and the braided hair and rolled-back eyes and open mouth. She stared at it for a while before she looked away. Somebody screamed.
The woman closed the calabash. “Do you know,” she said, “it took me so long to plait this hair? She had such thick hair.”
The train had stopped with a rusty screech. Olanna got down and stood in the jostling crowd. A woman fainted… She thought about the plaited hair resting in the calabash. She visualised the mother braiding it, her fingers oiling it with pomade before dividing it into sections with a wooden comb.

Related Characters: Olanna Ozobia
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:

After the massacre at Kano, Mohammed hurries Olanna to a train that can take her back to Nsukka. Unfortunately, she is not spared the sight of her aunt and uncle's mangled bodies, and she realizes that Arize, too, is dead. On the train, she is surrounded by wounded and weeping people. In this quote, a grieving mother shows Olanna and other passengers what is inside the calabash she carries: the ashen, severed head of her daughter. While many of the onlookers have violent reactions of disgust to the child's head, Olanna is transfixed in morbid fascination with the girl and her hair. 

While the book depicts many images of the horrific violence that occurred during the war, this moment of an eerily calm mother carrying and showing the head of her child is one of the most haunting and enduring passages in the novel. Adichie employs this image to tie together the horrors of the war with the humanities of everyday life: even when her child has died and all she has left is a lifeless head, the mother cannot help but think of the effort that she put into braiding her daughter's thick hair. Though colonial and wartime endeavors sought to strip the Nigerian and Biafran people of their humanity through severe acts of violence, humanity and love endure, such as the care a mother takes each day to braid her daughter's hair, the love that does not die even when the daughter does, so much so that a mother is driven to save her daughter's head in remembrance. This image continues to haunt not only Olanna, but other characters who hear of it secondhand, throughout the novel. 

Part 3, Chapter 20 Quotes

“You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said. “Your life belongs to you and you alone, soso gi. You will go back on Saturday.”

Related Characters: Aunty Ifeka (speaker), Olanna Ozobia
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

After Olanna finds out that Odenigbo slept with Amala, she goes to Kano to find some solace with her extended family members. She tells her aunt about her situation, and in this quote, Aunty Ifeka replies unsympathetically to Olanna's complaining. A man, she asserts, should never come to define Olanna's life, as it is her life and hers alone. Thus, the decision whether to forgive him or to leave permanently should be hers alone and not be dependent on anyone else's desires or wishes. 

Olanna's desire to please everyone in her life--from her parents to Kainene to Odenigbo--often leaves her distraught when she is left with a choice that involves her own personal happiness. Olanna has always expected and admired Odenigbo's confidence, but as Aunty Ifeka points out, this admiration is often to a fault, as Olanna usually lets Odenigbo's decisions rule her life. For the most part, she has been content to become a part of his life rather than him becoming a part of hers, but she knows she has more self-respect than to let him be totally forgiven for sleeping with his mother's housegirl. The decision to forgive or to leave, Aunty Ifeka can tell, is completely ruining Olanna's life in the present. In this quote, she points out to Olanna that Odenigbo, or any man, should never have this much power over her: a man's presence, or lack thereof, should only ever be an aspect of her life, never the whole. Olanna's subsequent decision will be important, but should not be life-defining, as she has been making it out to be. 

Part 3, Chapter 23 Quotes

Or she should have told him more: that she regretted betraying Kainene and him but did not regret the act itself. She should have said that it was not a crude revenge, or a scorekeeping, but took on a redemptive significance for her. She should have said the selfishness had liberated her.

Related Characters: Olanna Ozobia (speaker), Kainene Ozobia , Odenigbo
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:

After Olanna sleeps with Richard, they agree not to tell Kainene what has transpired between them. Olanna tells Odenigbo, who is shaken at the breach in Olanna's loyalty, and the fact that she would discard her morals to the extent that she would sleep with her twin sister's boyfriend. In this quote, Olanna, back at her apartment, wishes she had elaborated more on her feelings about her night with Richard. 

As the more attractive, "agreeable" twin, Olanna is perceived as morally and socially superior to Kainene, to a fault. Kainene, whose slender figure appears masculine to many, acts traditionally "masculine" in what seems to be a response to her sister's personality: she is sharp, sarcastic, and relies on shrewd logic in both her own life and in her career as a businesswoman. In a way, sleeping with her twin's boyfriend and not regretting the act is something that Kainene might have done if Richard cheated on her: challenge one morally reprehensible act with one that might be even more despicable. The danger and general badness of the act is delicious to angelic Olanna, and her lack of regret inspires a "liberation" in her feelings towards herself and Odenigbo's infidelity. Now that they are even--and in fact, she has the upper hand--she can forgive him, and herself. And more importantly, the very act of taking full control of her life and agency over her actions makes this seeming sin into an identity-affirming moment for Olanna herself.

Part 4, Chapter 25 Quotes

She taught them about the Biafran flag. They sat on wooden planks and the weak morning sun streamed into the roofless class as she unfurled Odenigbo’s cloth flag and told them what the symbols meant. Red was the blood of the siblings massacred in the North, black was for mourning them, green was for the prosperity Biafra would have, and, finally, the half of a yellow sun stood for the glorious future.

Related Characters: Olanna Ozobia (speaker), Odenigbo
Related Symbols: The Biafran Flag
Page Number: 352
Explanation and Analysis:

After the school is shut down to be used as a refugee camp, Olanna and Ugwu teach classes in their backyard to children whose parents pay a small fee or provide payment in kind, such as gifts of food. In this quote, Adichie describes how Olanna proudly teaches her pupils to be patriots, and explains to them the symbolism of the Biafran flag. 

The colors of the Biafran flag signify both remembrance and hope, showing that the country will not blindly be created without remembering the bloodshed that occurred in the fight for independence. Biafra would be a state that knew the dangers of colonialism and the greed of foreign influence, and would be (ideally) impervious to repeating such corruption again. The titular "half of a yellow sun" that all soldiers bear on their shoulders represents an optimistic future, yet there is also something ominous about a sun that is never depicted as whole. Olanna, who has been told who she is and how to think by her parents, sister, random people who appraise her beauty, and Odenigbo her whole life, is elated to find something to truly believe in, something she is a part of in the beginning.

Part 4, Chapter 31 Quotes

“Good?”
“Yes, good. There’s something very lazy about the way you have loved him so blindly for so long without ever criticizing him. You’ve never even accepted that the man is ugly,” Kainene said.

Related Characters: Olanna Ozobia (speaker), Kainene Ozobia (speaker)
Page Number: 486
Explanation and Analysis:

At Kainene's house in Orlu, Olanna complains to her twin about how Odenigbo has seemingly changed into someone else since the war began. She voices her complaints about his excessive drinking and her suspicions that he slept with Alice. In this quote, Kainene replies that she is happy Olanna has finally stopped blindly accepting her love and confidence in Odenigbo without criticism.

As a beautiful and rich woman, Olanna has rarely questioned the good things that come to her, such as a university degree, jobs, and men. The major choices she has made in life lately have all involved Odenigbo, such as when she left Mohammed and when she decided to forgive Odenigbo after he slept with Amala, more for her sake than his. Kainene, who has had an equally charmed life albeit without Olanna's good looks and eager-to-please personality, has always been more shrewd and discerning regarding decisions that relate to her personal life. She praises Olanna for finally criticizing Odenigbo without loving him and his flaws blindly, a moment of bonding for two sisters who have been distant for so long. 

Part 4, Chapter 34 Quotes

Ugwu was writing as she spoke, and his writing, the earnestness of his interest, suddenly made her story important, made it serve a larger purpose that even she was not sure of, and so she told him all she remembered about the train full of people who had cried and shouted and urinated on themselves.

Related Characters: Olanna Ozobia (speaker), Ugwu
Page Number: 512
Explanation and Analysis:

One day, while gently brushing Baby's hair, which is falling out from malnutrition, Olanna tells Ugwu that she cannot stop thinking of the little girl's head that she saw in the calabash on the way back from Kano. Ugwu asks her to say more, and writes down everything Olanna tells him. 

Like Ugwu's decreased nightmares after he began writing, Olanna begins to feel a sense of relief as she tells Ugwu all she saw that day in Kano and on the train back to Nsukka. The reader begins to suspect that perhaps the writer of "The World Was Silent When We Died" is not Richard, but in fact Ugwu. Ugwu's determination to record the atrocities Olanna has experienced, and the sense of release and understanding she feels, underscores the importance of recording these events for posterity, and of ensuring that events like these never happen again. It also emphasizes the tragedy of the neglect that Biafra felt from the world at large throughout the war--like Olanna's wish to be heard, Biafra wants to be heard and helped as people starve to death behind enemy lines, cut off from all food supplies. Here, Adichie shows the importance of narratives and memoir to give humanity to even the most gruesome of genocides. 

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Olanna Ozobia Character Timeline in Half of a Yellow Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Olanna Ozobia appears in Half of a Yellow Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
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...be “in a glass case” for her beauty to be “preserved untainted.” Her name is Olanna, but Odenigbo calls her nkem, or “my own.” (full context)
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Ugwu learns that Olanna will be moving to Nsukka to live with Odenigbo soon. He is worried about this... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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The narrative now follows Olanna, who is driving with Odenigbo to the airport and listening to High Life music. She... (full context)
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Olanna then has to get on her own flight, and the man sitting next her compliments... (full context)
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That night Olanna has to have dinner with her parents and Chief Okonji, the finance minister. Her twin... (full context)
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Chief Okonji invites the family to his house for the weekend, and Olanna realizes that he has been promised an affair with her in exchange for the building... (full context)
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Later that night Olanna’s mother comes to her room and praises Chief Okonji’s expensive lace. She finally asks about... (full context)
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Kainene then comes to Olanna’s room and sarcastically discusses Olanna being used as “sex bait.” Kainene says that her boyfriend... (full context)
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Olanna takes a train to Kano, a town in the North, to visit her Uncle Mbaezi... (full context)
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Olanna’s family’s friend Abdulmalik, a Hausa man who makes slippers, gives Olanna some slippers and invites... (full context)
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That night Olanna lies awake thinking – the family here in Kano all lives in one room, so... (full context)
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The next day Olanna goes to visit Mohammed, her ex-boyfriend. Mohammed’s family is very wealthy, and Olanna first passes... (full context)
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Olanna asks Mohammed to take her for a drive around the city, and he jokingly says... (full context)
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When Olanna finally moves to Nsukka, Odenigbo has to leave the next day to attend a conference... (full context)
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When Odenigbo returns Olanna feels suddenly joyous, and like the house is really hers now. They immediately have sex,... (full context)
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Weeks pass and Olanna starts to settle in. Odenigbo teases her that Okeoma and Dr. Patel are both falling... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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...small talk. Kainene is sardonic and pessimistic, and she describes herself and her twin sister Olanna as “meat” to be offered up to suitable bachelors. (full context)
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...and flashy). Richard is suddenly irritated by Susan, and he watches Kainene, her parents, and Olanna across the room. He and Kainene lock eyes once but Richard looks away. (full context)
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...doesn’t, Chief Ozobia ignores him for the rest of the night. Richard is charmed by Olanna, but she lacks “Kainene’s melancholy mystique.” He longs to know more about Kainene but fears... (full context)
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...Harcourt. She agrees that Richard should visit her there. She tells Richard that she asked Olanna to introduce him to her “revolutionary lecturer lover.” Kainene mocks Odenigbo and the foolishness of... (full context)
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...He is comforted by how sparse and soulless it looks inside. He goes to visit Olanna and Odenigbo and then gets his houseboy, who is a middle-aged man named Harrison. Harrison... (full context)
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Richard starts spending time with Odenigbo and Olanna, and sitting quietly while they and their friends argue about politics. Richard admires Odenigbo’s confidence,... (full context)
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...her spacious house and around the grounds. She seems disappointed that he likes Odenigbo and Olanna, but doesn’t say why. They walk through a grove of orange trees and Richard is... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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...will probably skip a grade, as he has “such an innate intelligence.” Ugwu lusts after Olanna to himself, and is now glad that she lives with them. Odenigbo’s mother is about... (full context)
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...about her, but Odenigbo helps her to his car. They return to Odenigbo’s house and Olanna greets them. Ugwu makes pepper soup for dinner while Dr. Patel treats his mother. (full context)
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After a while Olanna comes into the kitchen and tells Ugwu that his mother had an infection, but she... (full context)
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Olanna comes home and greets Odenigbo’s mother, who immediately says “I hear you did not suck... (full context)
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...going to consult a dibia (a kind of medicine man) though, and he worries for Olanna’s safety. Ugwu then leaves and goes to find Odenigbo. He tells Odenigbo what happened, and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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The narrative now follows Olanna. Odenigbo shows up at her house and tries to dismiss the incident, saying that his... (full context)
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Olanna realizes that they have never fought before, and she wonders if Odenigbo really values her... (full context)
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Olanna wishes she was more confident and didn’t need someone to lean on, but she tries... (full context)
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When Odenigbo’s mother leaves, Olanna moves back into his house. Ugwu is concerned, as he saw a black cat near... (full context)
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One day Richard knocks on the door when Odenigbo is out. Olanna answers and tries to engage him in conversation, but he is awkward and shy. The... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
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Ugwu returns to Nsukka. Odenigbo and Olanna are there, and they have a baby they call Baby. Ugwu tells them that Anulika... (full context)
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Olanna is the only one not excited about the deaths of the politicians, and Ugwu thinks... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 8
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Olanna goes to Kano after the turmoil of the coup calms down, though everyone is still... (full context)
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...like that before he was killed. All the women and children laugh too, except for Olanna. Aunty Ifeka assures her that the Sardauna was an evil man who deserved to die,... (full context)
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Olanna goes to her parents’ house in Lagos, which is empty. Her parents left the country... (full context)
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...gathered around a man, slapping him and asking if he is Igbo, and Arize and Olanna hurry past, speaking Yoruba loudly. Baby starts to cry. Arize says that she has heard... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
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...and argue, but instead they discuss troubled reports from the North. Ugwu is worried because Olanna is still in Kano. Odenigbo listens to the radio say that five hundred Igbo civilians... (full context)
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...that it was soldiers who saved him from the angry mob. Ugwu does not see Olanna among the crowds, and finally he runs away from the horrifying place. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 11
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The narrative switches to Olanna days before. She is relaxing at Mohammed’s estate when he enters and says she must... (full context)
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Mohammed dresses Olanna up like a Muslim woman and drives her to Sabon Gari. They reach the village... (full context)
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Later Olanna sits on the floor of a train, surrounded by people. Something gets in her eye... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 13
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Olanna survives the long ordeal of traveling and she collapses outside Odenigbo’s door, both her legs... (full context)
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Olanna’s parents and Kainene come to visit her, and Kainene cries for the first time since... (full context)
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One day Odenigbo is in the living room with some guests, and Olanna has to use the bathroom. Odenigbo and his companions are talking about the rumors that... (full context)
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Olanna listens to Odenigbo talk about Aburi, the Ghanaian town where Gowon and Colonel Ojukwu (now... (full context)
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Later Ugwu brings Olanna some food, and Odenigbo brings her a petition to sign – the university staff at... (full context)
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...says “this is our beginning,” and he starts to dance around the room with Baby. Olanna is shocked but happy. Soon afterward there is a rally in Freedom Square, and students... (full context)
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...sun in the center. Odenigbo declares that Biafra will “lead Black Africa,” and everyone cheers. Olanna is happy that the same joy is running through everyone’s veins, making them all feel... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 14
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...There is a meeting at the university about “In Case of War” and Richard sees Olanna there. They talk awkwardly, and Richard says he has changed his book title to “In... (full context)
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Back at home, Richard describes Ojukwu to Kainene, and he tells her that he saw Olanna at the conference. Kainene responds by saying “war is coming.” Port Harcourt seems thrown into... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
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...one of his poems, “If the sun refuses to rise, we will make it rise.” Olanna angrily tells Odenigbo that he must apologize to Miss Adebayo, and he finally relents. Olanna... (full context)
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One day Olanna and Ugwu are cooking, and Olanna talks about how there have been “reprisal killings” of... (full context)
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Olanna, Odenigbo, and Ugwu hurriedly gather up their precious possessions and leave with Baby. Biafran soldiers... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 17
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Olanna is at Odenigbo’s house in Abba. Odenigbo’s mother now acts civilly toward Olanna and has... (full context)
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...move again the next week, to Umuahia where Odenigbo will work for the “Manpower Directorate.” Olanna wonders how Baby will handle the move, and hopes that she will have “the right... (full context)
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The next morning Olanna’s mother drives up. She says that the war is not going well, and that she... (full context)
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Olanna’s mother gives Olanna a letter from Mohammed, which she already checked to see if it... (full context)
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...an inspirational speech. He says that Abba has never been defeated, and never will be. Olanna is inspired, and she realizes she likes these “mass movements” of hope and defiance. (full context)
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After the meeting Olanna tries to sympathize with Odenigbo about Mohammed, but Odenigbo gets angry and says Mohammed is... (full context)
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Olanna is called before a gathering of her family to describe what she saw in Kano.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 18
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...decides to move the family to Umuahia ahead of schedule. Ugwu wonders why Odenigbo and Olanna are being so distant with each other. As they are about to leave, Odenigbo’s cousin... (full context)
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...in Umuahia will be “perfectly normal,” but it seems like a dirty shack to Ugwu. Olanna says they should be grateful, as most refugees have far less. She tells Ugwu that... (full context)
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Olanna and Odenigbo get married with a small ceremony, with only a few friends attending. At... (full context)
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...screams and hides, and the planes fly by, spraying bullets and dropping bombs. Someone tells Olanna to remove her white dress, as it makes her a target, and Okeoma throws his... (full context)
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Everyone emerges from their hiding place and Dr. Nwala, Okeoma’s friend, helps Olanna up. People pick through the rubble, some of them searching for lost loved ones. Later... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 19
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...coming. “Mama” sends Ugwu away, saying she will cook for her son, and she disparages Olanna, who is in London. Ugwu listens to Odenigbo arguing in the other room, criticizing Britain.... (full context)
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...that this was the result of Mama’s “medicine,” and he worries what will happen if Olanna finds out. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 20
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Meanwhile Olanna’s mother complains to Olanna that her father is cheating on her, and he has bought... (full context)
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Olanna wakes up the next morning to find her mother raging at a servant for stealing... (full context)
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That night Olanna’s mother thanks her for talking to her father, and Olanna is strangely proud to have... (full context)
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Olanna returns to Nsukka and Ugwu greets her. Odenigbo’s mother is still there, but is about... (full context)
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Days pass, and Olanna sinks into a haze of depression in her apartment. Odenigbo comes by to explain and... (full context)
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A few days later Aunty Ifeka tells Olanna to go back to Nsukka and assert her independence. Ifeka says that she has told... (full context)
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Olanna follows her aunt’s advice and goes back to Nsukka. On the flight home the man... (full context)
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Olanna returns to Odenigbo’s house and packs all her things up. Ugwu tries to portray Odenigbo... (full context)
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Olanna takes up new hobbies and makes friends with her neighbor, a black American woman named... (full context)
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The next morning Odenigbo comes to Olanna’s apartment looking distressed, and he says that Amala is pregnant. Olanna starts to laugh hysterically,... (full context)
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Edna visits Olanna, who tearfully tells her what happened. Edna angrily tells Olanna to pull herself together, as... (full context)
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At the liquor store Olanna sees Richard. She invites him to come over and share some wine and talk with... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 21
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...decides to go to Lagos for a memorial service. Richard remembers enjoying his night with Olanna, but he left without a word the next day. He had fantasized about Olanna from... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 22
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Ugwu gets diarrhea because he is so stressed about Odenigbo and Olanna’s relationship. Mama returns with Amala, and she gloats about her coming grandson. Finally Mama leaves,... (full context)
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A few days later Olanna visits, and she gets angry when Odenigbo again tries to put all the blame on... (full context)
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Ugwu goes inside and eavesdrops. He hears shouting, but then he hears Odenigbo and Olanna having sex. Afterwards Olanna leaves. Ugwu asks Odenigbo if she will return soon, but Odenigbo... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 23
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Olanna goes to Richard’s house. They talk nervously and both decide to keep what happened a... (full context)
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...was bombed in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Edna finally cries herself to sleep, and Olanna thinks about how “a single act could reverberate over time and space and leave stains... (full context)
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On their first night back together Olanna and Odenigbo eat in silence, and then discuss politics. Olanna is somewhat glad that Odenigbo’s... (full context)
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Olanna gets up and calls Kainene to make sure Richard hasn’t confessed. Kainene is her usual... (full context)
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Amala has a baby girl, and Olanna and Odenigbo go to Abba. They visit the hospital and Mama looks dour. Amala won’t... (full context)
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Olanna and Odenigbo drive home, and Odenigbo says that Mama doesn’t want the baby, as she... (full context)
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Olanna brings the baby home, and tells Odenigbo about Ugwu’s belief in Mama’s medicine. Odenigbo says... (full context)
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Olanna tries to call Kainene a few times that evening, and finally she picks up. Kainene... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 24
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Later that night Kainene tells Richard that she spoke to Olanna. She says it would have been forgivable with anyone else, but not with her sister.... (full context)
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...talk, but Kainene says they will talk when she is ready. Later in the day Olanna and Odenigbo arrive, and Olanna tearfully apologizes. Kainene says “it is stupid to expect me... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 25
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The story returns to where it left off at Part Two. Since the air raid, Olanna now fears thunder and is very jumpy. She and Odenigbo trade all their money for... (full context)
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Olanna makes Ugwu guard Baby all the time, as she heard a story about soldiers kidnapping... (full context)
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Olanna takes Baby to the crowded hospital, and she gets in first because she speaks English.... (full context)
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Baby eventually gets some antibiotics, but she stops wanting to eat. Olanna uses most of her money buying candy and treats, but Baby won’t eat anything and... (full context)
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Olanna goes to the relief center, which used to be a girl’s secondary school. She waits... (full context)
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The supervisor, whose name is Okoromadu, sneaks Olanna some dried egg yolk as she is leaving. The next time Olanna goes to the... (full context)
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A shell-shocked soldier sees Olanna get the can, and he starts to follow her home. Four more ex-soldiers join him,... (full context)
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A couple of weeks later Mrs. Muokelu teaches Olanna how to make soap. That night Special Julius brings some palm wine and says that... (full context)
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...they sing a victorious song about Biafra. That evening the alarm goes off again, and Olanna doesn’t see Odenigbo in the bunker. Olanna rushes out into the open and sees Odenigbo... (full context)
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The next day Olanna feels paranoid, and she wants the family to spend the whole day in the bunker.... (full context)
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Olanna goes out to talk to Mrs. Muokelu, who tells her that Special Julius sells forged... (full context)
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...when they come out of the bunker everyone sees that the school has been bombed. Olanna wanders through the wreckage, and notices that a piece of shrapnel has dug a beautiful-looking... (full context)
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...early morning there is another air raid, but this time the siren doesn’t go off. Olanna rushes to the bunker. She has an out-of-body experience, and realizes that if she and... (full context)
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Olanna no longer runs and panics at loud noises, and she starts teaching her students about... (full context)
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One of her students tells Olanna that she wants to kill all the vandals, and Olanna is shaken by this. Odenigbo... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 26
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Ugwu hates the relief food, and he misses his old kitchen in Nsukka. Olanna is grateful for everything she gets, but Ugwu complains about the bland flour and salty... (full context)
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Odenigbo and Olanna have guests in the living room, and they discuss how “saboteurs” cost Biafra its territories... (full context)
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One day Olanna says that the school where she has been teaching has been turned into a refugee... (full context)
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...guest from Nsukka) gets out. He is now the Director for Mobilization. Neither Odenigbo nor Olanna are home, so Ezeka leaves a note and goes. Eberechi, the neighbor girl whom Ugwu... (full context)
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...talking to Eberechi, and he agrees to work on the school roof with her later. Olanna returns and is amused by the pretentious note Ezeka left her. Ugwu goes off to... (full context)
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Days later Ugwu sets up benches for the class he is supposed to teach. Olanna tells him he will teach mathematics, civics, and to speak perfect English and Igbo. One... (full context)
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...when she asks him what’s wrong. Eventually they stop talking altogether. Ugwu decides to tell Olanna what happened with Eberechi, but when he goes inside to do it Olanna is in... (full context)
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Odenigbo comes home and goes into his room with Olanna. Ugwu cooks Baby’s food, and then Olanna comes out and yells at him for using... (full context)
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...early to try and find his mother’s body, even though it is in occupied territory. Olanna begs him not to go, but he rushes off. Meanwhile a group of people walk... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 27
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...in food. He says money has no value in “this Biafra.” Kainene tells Richard about Olanna’s experience with the woman carrying her daughter’s head, and Kainene says she wants to go... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 28
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Olanna remembers Odenigbo returning after midnight, covered in mud, on the day he tried to bury... (full context)
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...condolences to Odenigbo, and Odenigbo is more open with him than he has been with Olanna. Okeoma and Odenigbo drink whiskey, and Okeoma complains about his commander, a white mercenary who... (full context)
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Olanna asks for a poem, but Okeoma wants to talk about the war instead. After lunch... (full context)
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That evening Professor Achara arrives and says that Odenigbo and Olanna must leave in two weeks, as their landlord has found someone who will pay double... (full context)
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Odenigbo, Olanna, Ugwu, and Baby move into a single room, which is still lucky considering the refugee-filled... (full context)
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Baby makes a new friend named Adanna. Olanna is glad that she is adjusting to all the moving, but she worries that Baby... (full context)
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Olanna is surprised to hear someone playing piano one day, and Mama Oji says that it... (full context)
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Olanna grows interested in Alice and tries to befriend her, but Alice rarely leaves her room... (full context)
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On her way home Olanna sees a boy being conscripted by soldiers, and then she gets angry at Ugwu for... (full context)
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...men to help him dig. The other men joke and talk, but Odenigbo stays silent. Olanna hopes that his weeping session will loosen some of the “knots” within him, but he... (full context)
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A few hours later Professor Ezeka’s driver arrives with supplies for Olanna and Odenigbo. Ugwu is overjoyed at all the food, but Olanna immediately puts some salt... (full context)
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Alice tells Olanna that she had fallen in love with a married army colonel and followed him for... (full context)
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That day Odenigbo comes home with a gun. He looks tired and sad, and rejects Olanna’s suggestion to try and be transferred elsewhere. Olanna is suddenly repulsed by their squalid, depressing... (full context)
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...army. She says that Baby’s friend Adanna has kwashiorkor, a disease from starvation and malnutrition. Olanna goes to see her and says the child needs milk or crayfish, but her mother... (full context)
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Olanna goes to see Professor Ezeka. Mrs. Ezeka greets her joyfully, though they had barely met... (full context)
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Before she leaves, Mrs. Ezeka shows Olanna the bunker they sometimes have to go in, and complains about it. It is sturdy,... (full context)
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One afternoon Kainene appears. Olanna embraces her uncertainly, feeling self-conscious about her squalid room. The two sisters sit quietly for... (full context)
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Kainene says she should stop calling the child “Baby,” but call her Chiamaka instead, and Olanna laughs with sudden joy. Kainene tells Olanna about Ikejide being beheaded. She invites Olanna to... (full context)
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A few days later Olanna goes to Orlu, and Harrison greets her. Kainene is there, and she hugs Olanna. Kainene... (full context)
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Kainene takes Olanna to the refugee camp she runs, and shows her around. Inside the smell is nauseating,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 29
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Ugwu is bored one afternoon and he ignores Olanna’s warnings and sets out on the road. He rounds a corner near a church and... (full context)
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...made to walk down the road. He sees Mrs. Muokelu, and a few moments later Olanna appears. Olanna talks to the commander, and then a soldier cuts Ugwu free. He is... (full context)
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Olanna acts chilly towards Ugwu for a few days, until one morning Baby is crying because... (full context)
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While Olanna is away visiting Kainene, Ugwu overhears Odenigbo talking and laughing with Alice. The next day... (full context)
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...and then throws up on the floor. He tells Ugwu not to mention this to Olanna. (full context)
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...“memorial to death.” Ugwu lies awake that night and imagines running home to Odenigbo and Olanna, but there is also a part of him that wants to fight, so he stays. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 30
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...care about British passports. Kainene has been happier and laughing more lately, and she and Olanna are close again. She wasn’t even angry or resentful when Richard and Olanna finally saw... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 31
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Olanna becomes desperate with worry about Ugwu, and is always fearing to see his body somewhere.... (full context)
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Mama Oji, who is with Olanna, says that Olanna should be careful of Alice. Olanna assures her that Alice isn’t a... (full context)
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Olanna goes to see Alice, and finds that her former admiration for her has turned to... (full context)
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There is no petrol at the station, and Olanna tells Odenigbo that they need to find some on the black market. He changes the... (full context)
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Olanna uses the rest of the money her mother sent her and buys some petrol from... (full context)
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Olanna immediately goes to the bar, pours Odenigbo’s drink onto the floor, and tells him that... (full context)
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...in the building sing for Ugwu in the yard, and Alice brings out her piano. Olanna is repulsed by Odenigbo’s presence, and feels that his drinking is somehow complicit in Ugwu’s... (full context)
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...Odenigbo comes out and picks her up, and she starts to cry on his shoulder. Olanna thinks Odenigbo holds Alice like someone who has held her before. (full context)
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...with him, as there are some people from the village in his compound. Odenigbo asks Olanna to go get the Alice’s things, but Olanna refuses and goes into her room. She... (full context)
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Olanna wakes up to the sound of shelling. She and Odenigbo hurry to the car, but... (full context)
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...Richard to stop coming to his house – but Odenigbo declines and goes to bed. Olanna follows, but the couple barely speak to each other. (full context)
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Olanna then comes back out and talks to Kainene. She tells her that Odenigbo “has become... (full context)
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In the morning Kainene and Olanna share some face cream and then go to the refugee camp. The children there are... (full context)
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Kainene then asks Olanna why she was always so eager to please their parents. Olanna says she supposes she... (full context)
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Olanna refuses to worry about Odenigbo, but she worries about Baby and the other children. Their... (full context)
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Olanna and Kainene always walk home together, discussing Odenigbo and the war. Kainene affirms that Biafra... (full context)
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Olanna starts to scream and she grabs at Odenigbo. They enter their room and have grief-stricken... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 32
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...a priest comes, and Ugwu recognizes him as Father Damian, a priest who worked with Olanna in Nsukka. Father Damian promises to tell Odenigbo about Ugwu, and he gives him some... (full context)
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When Ugwu comes home Olanna and Odenigbo hug him, which they have never done before. Ugwu starts to cry and... (full context)
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...throws him out, growing “magnificent in her rage.” Ugwu is ashamed and thinks that Kainene, Olanna, and Eberechi would all hate him if they knew what he had done. (full context)
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At night Ugwu listens to Olanna and Kainene talk, creating “their own world” that Odenigbo and Richard can never enter, and... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 33
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Richard sits with Kainene, Olanna, and Odenigbo as they eat and laugh together. Richard has started to enjoy these evenings,... (full context)
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...that it is dangerous, but Kainene says that lots of people have been doing it. Olanna says she will go with her next time. Richard is surprised to hear of Kainene’s... (full context)
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...Men” all day, but when he comes home Kainene is still gone. He talks to Olanna, who criticizes the Biafran plan to rely on “self-sufficiency and farming.” Richard plays with Baby... (full context)
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...probably just held up on the other side, as delays happen all the time, and Olanna agrees, though she looks afraid. Olanna and Richard drive around and search for her. Richard... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 34
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Baby’s hair keeps falling out even though Olanna brushes it gently. A week has passed since Kainene’s disappearance. There are rumors that Ojukwu... (full context)
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...Richard return from searching for Kainene, but they have no success. A few days later Olanna goes to check the mortuary for her sister’s body, though she knows that even if... (full context)
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...left but to surrender, as the suffering of the Biafran civilians has grown too great. Olanna gets dizzy and cannot believe it. After a while she says that now she can... (full context)
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A week passes before Olanna sees some Nigerian soldiers. They are smartly dressed and laughing, promising to give girls food... (full context)
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Olanna’s cousin Odinchezo staggers into the compound on his way to another town. He says that... (full context)
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Richard leaves on the night that the roads open. Olanna and Odenigbo go the next morning, leaving a note for Kainene if she should return... (full context)
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...of the car and carry wood, and he slaps Odenigbo for resisting. Then he makes Olanna get out and work too. Olanna warns a man leering at her not to touch... (full context)
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...assumes the man with glasses wrote propaganda for Ojukwu. The officer finally sends Odenigbo and Olanna on their way. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 35
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Ugwu finds a pile of burned books in the yard of Odenigbo’s old house. Olanna and Odenigbo stare at it, and Odenigbo realizes all his old research papers are in... (full context)
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Ugwu returns to Nsukka but doesn’t tell Olanna about Anulika. Olanna is still preoccupied with finding Kainene, and is convinced that she is... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 37
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Olanna experiences mood swings between great hope and crippling despair. She cannot even grieve for Kainene,... (full context)
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Weeks pass, and foreign academics send books to Odenigbo. Edna sends Olanna a package from Boston, where she lives now. Olanna’s bank account in Lagos has been... (full context)
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Odenigbo disparages the dibia, but Olanna says she will believe in anything if it brings back her sister. She is reminded... (full context)