The Thing Around Your Neck

In "The Thing Around Your Neck," Akunna wins the "American visa lottery" and gets a green card to go to America. She's very independent and refuses her uncle's sexual advances, instead taking a job in a restaurant to support herself. She finds that most Americans are condescending and know nothing about Africa, and she similarly becomes disillusioned with the boy, her American boyfriend. Akunna sends money to her parents monthly, though she doesn't write letters to tell them about how strange America is.

Akunna Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below are all either spoken by Akunna or refer to Akunna. 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:
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of The Thing Around Your Neck published in 2009.
The Thing Around Your Neck Quotes

He laughed and said the job was good, was worth living in an all-white town even though his wife had to drive an hour to find a salon that did black hair. The trick was to understand America, to know that America was give-and-take. You gave up a lot, but you gained a lot, too.

Related Characters: Akunna
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

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You did not know that people could simply choose not to go to school, that people could dictate to life. You were used to accepting what life gave, writing down what life dictated.

Related Characters: Akunna, The boy
Page Number: 121
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 nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Akunna Character Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the character Akunna appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Thing Around Your Neck
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The narrator, Akunna, says she thought that everyone in America had a car and a gun. She wins... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Akunna's uncle picks her up from the airport. He buys her a hot dog and takes... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
One day, Akunna's uncle comes into the basement, grabs her buttocks, and sits on her bed. He says... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The last bus stop is a small town in Connecticut. Akunna enters a restaurant and asks the manager for work, saying she'll work for less than... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
After a few months, Akunna wants to write to her family and friends about the openness of the Americans and... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
At the restaurant, customers ask Akunna if she's from Jamaica. One day, a boy asks what African country she's from, and... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...shows up at the restaurant for the next few days and tries to talk to Akunna about Lagos. He tells her about his travels to Bombay and how he likes to... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Akunna feels that she and the boy are becoming close when she tells him that she... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The boy finds an African store and drives Akunna there. The storeowner asks the boy if he's African, and the boy says he is,... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...some Mandarin. The waiter asks the boy if he has a girlfriend in Shanghai, and Akunna loses her appetite when the boy says nothing. She doesn't enjoy sex later and finally... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
The boy buys Akunna gifts, and Akunna finally tells him to stop buying her things that aren't useful. Akunna... (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Akunna knows that her relationship with the boy seems abnormal to many people, but the boy's... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Akunna writes home and receives a letter that her father died five months ago. Her family... (full context)