The Thing Around Your Neck

by

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Ujunwa Character Analysis

In "Jumping Monkey Hill," Ujunwa is a Nigerian woman who attends the writers' conference at Jumping Monkey Hill. She is annoyed when Edward and Isabel make assumptions about her family or her beliefs, and deals with Isabel's assumptions in particular by agreeing with Isabel and then making the assumptions sound ridiculous. Though Edward's constant leering and inappropriate comments make her uncomfortable, Ujunwa struggles to say anything or call him out on his behavior. She writes an autobiographical story about working in a bank, and storms out of the workshop when Edward says that women in Nigeria don't experience sexism like the protagonist of her story does.

Ujunwa Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below are all either spoken by Ujunwa or refer to Ujunwa. 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.
Jumping Monkey Hill Quotes

The next day at breakfast, Isabel used just such a tone when she sat next to Ujunwa and said that surely, with that exquisite bone structure, Ujunwa had to come from Nigerian royal stock. The first thing that came to Ujunwa's mind was to ask if Isabel ever needed royal blood to explain the good looks of her friends back in London.

Related Characters: Ujunwa, Isabel
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

"Which Africa?"

Related Characters: Ujunwa (speaker), The Senegalese, The Ugandan, Edward
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ujunwa Character Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the character Ujunwa appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Jumping Monkey Hill
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ujunwa thinks it's odd that the African Writers Workshop is being held at Jumping Monkey Hill,... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Edward picks Ujunwa up at the airport. He offers pleasantries about Ujunwa's flight and asks if she minds... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The Ugandan sits in the front of the car and Ujunwa worries that Edward is driving too fast. At the resort, Ujunwa and the other participants... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
At breakfast the next day, Isabel asks Ujunwa if she comes from Nigerian royalty. Ujunwa wants to ask if Isabel ever asks such... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ujunwa calls her mother and relates her conversation with Isabel. Her mother laughs. Ujunwa sits at... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
At dinner that night, Edward tells all the participants to try the ostrich dish. Ujunwa says that she didn't know people even ate ostrich, and Edward laughs and explains that... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...to her parents as lesbian, and other participants talk about their (mostly absent) fathers. When Ujunwa realizes it's her turn to talk about her father, she says her father bought her... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The next day, Ujunwa continues writing Chioma's story. Chioma gets a call from Merchant Trust Bank. She knows people... (full context)
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Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Over the course of the workshop, Ujunwa tries not to notice that Edward never looks at her face; instead he concentrates on... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ujunwa reads the Zimbabwean's story and the participants talk about it the next day. Edward deems... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
As Ujunwa heads back to her cabin, the Kenyan, the Zimbabwean, and the white South African woman... (full context)
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Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ujunwa tries to call her mother later that night, but the call won't go through. The... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ujunwa returns to her cabin and sits down to finish Chioma's story. As Chioma sits and... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
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Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ujunwa wakes the next morning, nervous about having to read her story out loud later. At... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The South African says that Edward means no harm, and Ujunwa attacks his attitude, saying that that kind of attitude is what allowed Europeans to take... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ujunwa buys a faux ivory necklace and wears it to dinner. Isabel compliments the faux ivory,... (full context)
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Angry, Ujunwa stands up, crying and laughing, and says the only thing she left out was that... (full context)