The Thing Around Your Neck

by

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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The Benin Masks Symbol Analysis

The Benin Masks Symbol Icon

In "Imitation," Nkem's husband Obiora regularly returns from his time in Nigeria with reproductions of Benin masks for their American home. As the story is about Nkem's realization that her marriage to Obiora is tenuous, compromised, and overall fake, the masks themselves become representative of the state of their marriage. Nkem delights in the masks and the history behind them, just as she muses that she once found joy in the life that Obiora allows her to lead. However, she allows that she doesn't always believe Obiora's accounts of the masks' history. When she discovers proof that Obiora is keeping a young woman in their home in Nigeria, she learns that she shouldn't necessarily trust or believe Obiora's accounts about anything.

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The Benin Masks Symbol Timeline in The Thing Around Your Neck

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Benin Masks appears in The Thing Around Your Neck. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Imitation
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Stories and Representation  Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Nkem stares at the Benin mask on her mantel as she listens to her friend tell her that her husband, Obiora,... (full context)
Women, Marriage, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Family and Lies Theme Icon
Back in the present, Nkem touches the Benin mask and remembers what Obiora has said about it: the masks were called "war booty" by... (full context)