The Thing Around Your Neck

by

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Grace / Afamefuna Character Analysis

In "The Headstrong Historian," Grace/Afamefuna is the daughter of Anikwenwa and Mgbeke, and she seems to possess her grandfather Obierika's soul. Though Anikwenwa insists that Grace receive a Western and Christian education, Grace is very close to her grandmother Nwamgba and loves her grandmother's poetry and stories. As she grows up, Grace comes to resent her father for rejecting tradition so strongly. She makes it her life project to write about Nigerian history and connect with her roots. As an old woman, Grace legally changes her name to Afamefuna, the name her grandmother called her.

Grace / Afamefuna Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below are all either spoken by Grace / Afamefuna or refer to Grace / Afamefuna. 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 Headstrong Historian Quotes

It was Grace who would read about these savages, titillated by their curious and meaningless customs, not connecting them to herself until her teacher, Sister Maureen, told her she could not refer to the call-and-response her grandmother had taught her as poetry because primitive tribes did not have poetry.

Related Characters: Nwamgba, Grace / Afamefuna
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:
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Grace / Afamefuna Character Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the character Grace / Afamefuna appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Headstrong Historian
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...the boy. Mgbeke has several more miscarriages and then has a girl. She names her Grace, and Nwamgba calls her Afamefuna. Nwamgba knows that her granddaughter has Obierika's spirit. Grace shows... (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
When Grace leaves for school, Nwamgba knows she's going to die soon. Anikwenwa wants to baptize her... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
In Grace's schoolbag is a book about the "pacification" of Nigerian tribes. She goes on to read... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
In college in 1950, Grace changes her degree to history after hearing about a Nigerian man who resigned from an... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
As an older woman, Grace goes to the courthouse and changes her name to Afamefuna. As a child, however, sitting... (full context)