The Thing Around Your Neck

Cars Symbol Icon

Throughout the story collection, characters consistently take note as to what cars other characters drive. Particularly in the stories that take place in Nigeria, the cars act as a symbol of Western influence, and for some characters, a status symbol. The Cell One narrator notes that due to the influence of American rap videos, cult members on the Nsukka campus drive their parents' cars with the seats pushed all the way back. Combined with the violence of the cults, and in particular the cult members' regular habit of stealing cars, the cars themselves become a symbol of power borrowed from the West. Professor James Nwoye in "Ghosts" is very proud of his car: it's an older model, but impeccably maintained, and is therefore indicative of his status as a (retired) professor. For those characters in America, owning a car of any type shows that they're making it in America and pursuing the American dream.

Cars Quotes in The Thing Around Your Neck

The The Thing Around Your Neck quotes below all refer to the symbol of Cars. 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

They may have once been benign fraternities, but they had evolved and were now called "cults"; eighteen-year-olds who had mastered the swagger of American rap videos were undergoing secret and strange initiations that sometimes left one or two of them dead on Odim Hill.

Related Characters: Cell One Narrator (speaker), Nnamabia
Related Symbols: Cars
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non

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Imitation Quotes

"You got a great house, ma'am," he'd said, with that curious American smile that meant he believed he, too, could have something like it someday. It is one of the things she has come to love about America, the abundance of unreasonable hope.

Related Characters: Nkem
Related Symbols: Cars
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Cars Symbol Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the symbol Cars 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
...stole their mother's jewelry. Their parents were out of town, and Nnamabia drove their mother's car, a Peugeot 504. The narrator and Nnamabia sat in church together for ten minutes before... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...complained about the "riffraff" stealing their possessions. The thieves were popular and drove their parents' cars. The narrator mentions the neighbor who stole from them, a handsome boy that the narrator... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...other cults, and the violence soon became normal. The police tried to help, but their cars were rickety and their guns were rusty, and Nnamabia said that the cult boys had... (full context)
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
One Monday, four cult boys steal a professor's car and shoot three other cult boys outside a lecture hall. Nnamabia doesn't come home that... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...first week in prison, Mother, Father, and the Cell One narrator visit daily in Father's Volvo. The narrator notices that her parents begin to behave differently—they don't criticize the brutal police... (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 Cell One narrator sits in the backseat of the car with the policeman. When they arrive at the prison compound, it looks neglected. The officer... (full context)
Imitation
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...The woman spoke about their husbands' habit of leaving them in America with the children, cars, and big houses, and only visiting occasionally. The woman had said that their husbands won't... (full context)
A Private Experience
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The narrator says that later, Chika will see burned cars and discover that the riot began when a Christian man drove over a Koran on... (full context)
Ghosts
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...the men talk about their troubles. As he leaves the men to return to his car, Ikenna Okoro calls out to James. (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...evacuating the Nsukka campus to escape the approaching federal soldiers. James' family was in their Impala and they saw Ikenna's car heading back towards campus. James waved at Ikenna to stop,... (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...the day he and Ebere returned to Nsukka. Soldiers shoved a wounded soldier into their car and the blood ran into the ripped upholstery. James says the blood reminded him of... (full context)
Family and Lies Theme Icon
...Ikenna vaguely agrees, but James knows he won't see Ikenna again. James goes home and carefully parks his Mercedes in the garage. He observes his yard on his way in and... (full context)
On Monday of Last Week
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
...competition as Josh digs for his shoelaces in his backpack. He pulls out a Shabbat card that he made in school and tells Kamara in a serious tone that he forgot... (full context)
Jumping Monkey Hill
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... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
...call from Merchant Trust Bank. She knows people who work there; they all drive nice cars and live in apartments. The manager tells Chioma that if she can bring in a... (full context)
The Thing Around Your Neck
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The narrator, Akunna, says she thought that everyone in America had a car and a gun. She wins the visa “lottery,” and her family members tell her that... (full context)
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Violence Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...men on Jeopardy. She tells him about the time her father hit a Big Man's car in rainy Lagos traffic and laid out in the road in shame. The Big Man's... (full context)
The Shivering
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
...program of study, but he sidesteps her questions. He thanks God that Ukamaka has a car, and Ukamaka is thrilled that they're friends and that he'll keep listening to her talk... (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 about her shivering experience when they prayed together the first time, and... (full context)