Americanah

Americanah Chapter 47 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ifemelu starts work at Zoe magazine. She is unnerved at first when the receptionist, who is older than she is, treats her like a “madam.” Ifemelu then finds herself playing her part, and being friendly but patronizing. Ifemelu’s two main coworkers are Doris, who lived in New York and speaks with a teenaged American accent, and Zemaye, a very sexual Nigerian woman. Doris and Zemaye don’t like each other and snipe back and forth all day.
Ifemelu still feels disconnected from some of the “foreign” parts of Nigerian social life (or what would seem especially foreign to a Westerner) but she also finds herself easily slipping into the roles expected of her. This is like when she started faking an American accent so many years earlier.
Themes
Identity Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon
Ifemelu and Doris eventually start talking about America, and Doris invites Ifemelu to the “Nigerpolitan Club,” which is a group of Nigerians who are recently back from living in the U.S. or England. When Doris leaves, Zemaye asks Ifemelu about her race blog. Ifemelu says she “discovered race” when she moved to America. Zemaye asks “why is it only black people that are criminals over there?” She says she loves the show Cops. Ifemelu doesn’t even know how to answer.
All the intricacies of race and culture Ifemelu had examined in her blog seem totally foreign to a Nigerian, as Zemaye shows just how the media portrays American blacks to foreigners. Doris has also lived in America, and so she relates to Ifemelu’s struggle to readjust to Nigeria.
Themes
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Separation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Cultural Criticism Theme Icon