The Thing Around Your Neck

by

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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In "Cell One," The unnamed mother of Nnamabia and the Cell One narrator, Mother is beautiful, light-skinned, and believes her son can do no wrong. When Nnamabia was a child, she either covered up or made excuses for his indiscretions. Even when Nnamabia is arrested for cult activity and it seems very likely that he is indeed involved, she maintains that he did nothing wrong. Mother consistently bribes policemen and simultaneously criticizes their corruption.

Mother Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below are all either spoken by Mother or refer to Mother. 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.
Cell One Quotes

"You cannot raise your children well, all of you people who feel important because you work in the university. When your children misbehave, you think they should not be punished. You are lucky, madam, very lucky that they released him."

Related Characters: Nnamabia, Cell One Narrator, Mother, Father
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mother Character Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the character Mother appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Cell One
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
...time; the second time, it was her brother Nnamabia who broke in and stole their mother's jewelry. Their parents were out of town, and Nnamabia drove their mother's car, a Peugeot... (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
...and left for two weeks. When he returned, he cried and apologized for pawning his mother's jewelry. (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Mother cried when Nnamabia said that he hadn't gotten a good price for the jewelry, making... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
...that Nnamabia is beautiful with light skin. People in the market would call out to Mother and ask why she gave all the beauty to "the boy" and left the narrator... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...and their guns were rusty, and Nnamabia said that the cult boys had modern guns. Mother, Father, and the narrator all wonder if Nnamabia is in a cult, but he denies... (full context)
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...hall. Nnamabia doesn't come home that night, and in the morning, a security man tells Mother and Father that Nnamabia has been arrested. They drive to the police station in town,... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The Cell One narrator describes the Enugu police station. Mother bribes the officers with food and money, and they allow Nnamabia to sit outside with... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...inmates. She says that Nnamabia's face is covered in infected bumps. Nnamabia tells the narrator, Mother, and Father that earlier in the day, he had to defecate in a plastic bag... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
For Nnamabia's first week in prison, Mother, Father, and the Cell One narrator visit daily in Father's Volvo. The narrator notices that... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The Cell One narrator, Mother, and Father visit the next day. Nnamabia looks sober and explains that an old man... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Two days later, a cult boy attacks another boy with an axe on campus. Mother and Father spend the day at the school superintendent's office, and at the end of... (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Mother and Father give the policeman on duty the release note. The policeman says that there... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...compound, it looks neglected. The officer goes inside and returns minutes later with Nnamabia. When Mother hugs him, he flinches; his body is bruised and bloody. The policeman tells Mother that... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
When Mother, Father, the Cell One narrator, and Nnamabia arrive home, Nnamabia explains what happened. He says... (full context)