Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

The Biafran Flag Symbol Analysis

The Biafran Flag Symbol Icon
The title of the novel comes from the image of the Biafran flag, which is composed of half of a yellow sun over stripes of red, black and green. In the novel Olanna teaches her students about the flag – the red symbolizes the blood of the Igbo slain in the 1966 pogrom, the black is to mourn their deaths, the green is for Biafra’s future prosperity, and the yellow sun is for the country’s “glorious future.” Adichie often points out the yellow sun on the uniforms of Biafran soldiers, and sometimes contrasts this image of hope with scenes of violence or tragedy. The flag ultimately comes to represent the optimism of the Biafrans when they first seceded from Nigeria, and then the horrors of starvation and war that came to crush that hopefulness.

The Biafran Flag Quotes in Half of a Yellow Sun

The Half of a Yellow Sun quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Biafran Flag. 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 2, Chapter 13 Quotes

Odenigbo climbed up to the podium waving his Biafran flag: swaths of red, black, and green and, at the center, a luminous half of a yellow sun.
“Biafra is born! We will lead Black Africa! We will live in security! Nobody will ever again attack us! Never again!”

Related Characters: Odenigbo (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Biafran Flag
Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 4, Chapter 29 Quotes

The skinny soldiers – with no boots, no uniforms, no half of a yellow sun on their sleeves – kicked and slapped and mocked Ugwu during physical training… the casual cruelty of this new world in which he had no say grew a hard clot of fear inside him.

Related Characters: Ugwu (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Biafran Flag
Page Number: 450
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Biafran Flag Symbol Timeline in Half of a Yellow Sun

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Biafran Flag appears in Half of a Yellow Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 13
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Odenigbo gives a speech and waves the Biafran flag , which is red, black, and green, with half of a yellow sun in the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
War and Violence Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...he was one of the soldiers. They look proud and brave in their uniforms, with half a yellow sun on their sleeves. The road is crowded, and Ugwu laments that he has again failed... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 25
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
...longer runs and panics at loud noises, and she starts teaching her students about the Biafran flag – the red is for the blood of the massacred Igbo, the black is to... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 29
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
War and Violence Theme Icon
...a “training” of beating and mockery. None of the other soldiers have boots, uniforms, or half of a yellow sun on their sleeves. Ugwu starts to grow terrified of the “casual cruelty of this new... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 33
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
War and Violence Theme Icon
Race and Culture Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...and Kainene wake up early to see a crowd kicking at a young soldier – half of a yellow sun still visible on his torn uniform – who had been stealing food. Kainene stops the... (full context)