The Thing Around Your Neck

by

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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In "The Shivering," Ukamaka is a graduate student at Princeton who's trying to piece her life back together after a sudden breakup with her boyfriend, Udenna. Ukamaka spent the three years she and Udenna were together shaping her life around his; she planned to live in the city he preferred after she finished school, and she cooked with hot peppers even though she doesn't like them. Udenna insisted that Ukamaka think and behave in ways that met his standards and disregard her own desires, and as such, Ukamaka is lost and alone without his forceful presence in her life. She returns to the Catholic Church following the breakup and struggles to understand how and why God does what he does. She thinks of God as a person with human reasoning.

Ukamaka Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below are all either spoken by Ukamaka or refer to Ukamaka. 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 Shivering Quotes

Staid, and yet she had been arranging her life around his for three years... Staid, and yet she cooked her stews with hot peppers now, the way he liked.

Related Characters: Ukamaka, Chinedu, Udenna
Related Symbols: Nigerian Food
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Thing Around Your Neck PDF

Ukamaka Character Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the character Ukamaka appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Shivering
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Someone knocks on Ukamaka's door in Princeton. It startles her; she's been on edge all day, reading the Nigerian... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
The man takes Ukamaka's hands and prays in the Nigerian Pentecostal fashion that mentions the blood of Jesus uncomfortably... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The man ends the prayer and Ukamaka slips away to the bathroom. When she returns, the man is still in her kitchen.... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Chinedu asks Ukamaka if she knew anyone on the flight. She says that her ex-boyfriend Udenna may have... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Ukamaka invites Chinedu to stay for lunch. Ukamaka tries to engage him in theological conversation, but... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Ukamaka had wandered up and down the streets until she ran into Father Patrick, who told... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ukamaka continues to ask Chinedu about his religious reasoning and she takes note of the "bush"... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Chinedu says he saw Ukamaka and Udenna in the parking lot one day and knew they were Nigerian. Hearing this... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Ukamaka asks if the stew is too peppery, and explains that she only started cooking 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
Ukamaka explains that she used to go to Mass daily, but stopped. She says she simply... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Ukamaka marvels at Chinedu's friendliness with the other residents of their building. She tries to ask... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
On Sundays, Ukamaka drives Chinedu to his Pentecostal church, attends a Catholic service, and then they go grocery... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ukamaka chatters about visiting home last Christmas and how her uncle teased Udenna about when he... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ukamaka is even more annoyed. She wants Udenna to call, since she still has his photograph... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
Ukamaka expresses disbelief that Abidemi could claim to love Chinedu but only expect Chinedu to do... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
The day Ukamaka kicks Chinedu out of her apartment, she'd begun to notice that he never went to... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ukamaka invites Chinedu to come to Catholic Mass with her. In the car, she tells him... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Father Patrick walks up and down the aisle flicking holy water on the congregation. Ukamaka thinks of how this would happen in Nigeria: the priest would use a branch from... (full context)