The Thing Around Your Neck

In "A Private Experience," Chika is a young Igbo Christian medical student. She and her sister, Nnedi, end up in the middle of a violent riot between Hausa Muslims and Igbo Christians while visiting their aunt in Kano. Chika feels as though riots aren't supposed to affect Nnedi and herself, given their high socioeconomic status. As she waits with a Hausa Muslim woman for the danger to pass, Chika feels guilty for thinking that the woman is less intelligent. Chika later realizes that the portrait the media paints of the Hausa Muslims is exaggerated to make them seem exceptionally violent, as the woman is very kind to Chika.

Chika Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below are all either spoken by Chika or refer to Chika. 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.
A Private Experience Quotes

"We have only spent a week here with our aunty, we have never even been to Kano before," Chika says, and she realizes that what she feels is this: she and her sister should not be affected by the riot. Riots like this were what she read about in newspapers. Riots like this were what happened to other people.

Related Characters: Chika (speaker), The Woman, Nnedi
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chika Character Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the character Chika appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Private Experience
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Chika and an unnamed woman climb into a small store through the window. Chika is trembling... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Chika can tell the woman is a Hausa Muslim, and thinks that it's obvious that she... (full context)
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Chika had been in the market buying oranges while Nnedi looked at groundnuts when people suddenly... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The narrator says that later, Chika will see burned cars and discover that the riot began when a Christian man drove... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The narrator explains that later, Chika will walk around with a photo of Nnedi, but she'll never find her. In the... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The woman asks Chika what her aunt does, and says that Chika's aunt is also safe. Chika says she... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The woman asks Chika if she's seeing "sick people" yet, and Chika explains that she is. The woman says... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...that her nipple burns like pepper. She removes her bra and offers her breasts to Chika. Chika remembers her pediatrics rotation and how embarrassed she was last week examining a little... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Chika tells the woman to use cocoa butter, as the woman explains that her first daughter... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...woman finds a tap in the store and surprisingly, it runs. She washes and prays. Chika wishes she could pray and touches her finger rosary, thinking of Nnedi's dismissal of religion.... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Outside, the streets are quiet. Chika comes upon a stinking burnt body. The narrator says that later, Chika and her aunt... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
In the present, Chika returns to the store and crawls in through the window again. The woman remarks that... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
At dawn, the woman crawls out the window. Chika hears her speaking Hausa to someone outside, and then the woman climbs back in. She... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
The narrator says that as Chika walks home, she'll realize that she'll never find Nnedi. Chika turns to the woman and... (full context)