Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Olanna goes to Kano after the turmoil of the coup calms down, though everyone is still talking about it. Olanna joins the pregnant Arize at her house. Olanna worries about Baby playing with the dirty village children, but she is ashamed that she feels this way. Arize says she wants her baby to be smart and educated like Olanna. Arize brings up Kainene but Olanna changes the subject. It becomes clear that the twin sisters are not speaking to each other at all.
Olanna’s snobbishness and protectiveness regarding Baby will grow more lax as living conditions decline. This past quarrel is often mentioned but never explained in Part Two, though we now know that it involves Olanna, Richard, and Kainene. The split between the twin sisters prefigures Nigeria’s split.
Themes
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Outside some people are laughing at a song that has a part about a bleating goat. They are saying that the Sardauna (the spiritual leader of the Hausa and the premier of the North) bleated 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, but Olanna is still disturbed.
Just as it was easy for the British to dehumanize the Nigerians and exploit them, so do the Nigerians dehumanize their political and ethnic rivals and allow themselves to condone murder. Olanna has stepped outside of the sphere of local politics and so she can see that things aren’t always in black and white.
Themes
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
War and Violence Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
Olanna goes to her parents’ house in Lagos, which is empty. Her parents left the country to avoid any political turmoil, though they called it a “holiday.” She goes into town with Arize and they shop for baby clothes. Olanna sees that people are reading Odenigbo’s article in the newspaper, which discusses the need for a unitary government.
Olanna’s parents avoid all the violence through the privilege of their money, and the fact that they have no loyalty to their compatriots. Adichie contrasts the optimism of shopping for baby clothes with the looming danger of political turmoil and violence.
Themes
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
A crowd of people are 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 of this happening elsewhere, people harassing Igbo people and calling the coup an Igbo coup. Olanna is distressed, but Arize assures her that things will calm down soon.
The first coup failed, but the leader who took control immediately afterward (Ironsi) was Igbo, so Northerners felt that this was all part of the Igbo plot. Ironsi did indeed decree a unitary government rather than a federal one, basically giving all power to one central government instead of dividing it up by region as Nigeria had before.
Themes
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
War and Violence Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
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