The Thing Around Your Neck

by

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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In "On Monday of Last Week," Kamara is Tobechi's young wife. After five years of marriage, during which Kamara stayed in Nigeria while Tobechi drove a taxi in Philadelphia, she was able to join him in the United States. Upon her arrival in the United States, Kamara becomes depressed and disillusioned with her husband. She takes a job as a nanny for Josh at Tobechi's suggestion, and she marvels at the anxiety Neil, Josh's father, feels about being a parent. Being out of her own house and having someone to care for gives her a sense of purpose, and her life gains new meaning when she meets Josh's mysterious artist mother, Tracy. Receiving attention from Tracy makes Kamara want to wear makeup and lose weight, and it begins to pull her out of her depression.

Kamara Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below are all either spoken by Kamara or refer to Kamara. 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.
On Monday of Last Week Quotes

Kamara wondered where the child's mother was. Perhaps Neil had killed her and stuffed her in a trunk; Kamara had spent the past months watching Court TV and had learned how crazy these Americans were.

Related Characters: Kamara, Neil, Josh, Tracy
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

She did not remember his toes with hair. She stared at him as he spoke, his Igbo interspersed with English that had an ungainly American accent... He had not spoken like that on the phone. Or had he, and she had not noticed? Was it simply that seeing him was different and that it was the Tobechi of university that she had expected to find?

Related Characters: Kamara, Tobechi
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

She had taken to closing her eyes while Tobechi was on top of her, willing herself to become pregnant, because if that did not shake her out of her dismay at least it would give her something to care about.

Related Characters: Kamara, Tobechi
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kamara Character Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the character Kamara appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
On Monday of Last Week
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The narrator says that since last Monday, Kamara has started standing in front of mirrors and imagining Tracy touching her. When Kamara comes... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Kamara thinks that in Nigeria, Josh would be called "half-caste" and it would mean something positive.... (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 American Dream Theme Icon
When Neil interviewed Kamara, he said that Josh was learning about his Jewish and his African-American heritage. Kamara wondered... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Now, three months later, Kamara has developed a sense of affection for Neil and stopped wondering about Tracy. On Monday... (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
As Kamara cooks Josh's dinner, she stubs her toe. Josh kisses it and Neil calls to check... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Kamara has been realizing that parenting in America means juggling anxieties. She thinks that when food... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
As Kamara listens to Neil worry, she picks at the sticker that says "NO TO GUNS" on... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Kamara and Tobechi met in school at Nsukka. The way he looked at her made her... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
When Tobechi met Kamara at the airport, he told her they would need to marry again in America. She... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Kamara called a friend who she thought would understand her sense of flatness and apathy about... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Tobechi had noticed, however, that Kamara seemed "bright" on Monday of last week. When Tracy had come upstairs on that day,... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...she spent time in Ghana and offers that "the motherland" informs her work. She questioned Kamara about her roots in Nigeria. Josh grabbed a paintbrush and ran with it while Tracy... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
...his backpack. He pulls out a Shabbat card that he made in school and tells Kamara in a serious tone that he forgot to give it to her last Friday, and... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Kamara touches up her makeup and knocks on the basement door. Tracy opens the door, looking... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The next afternoon, Kamara can tell that Josh didn't win the competition. Neil stands with a blond woman and... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Neil whispers to Kamara about Josh's sugar intake, and Kamara reassures him and agrees to make Josh's dinner later.... (full context)