Favorite Quotes From ‘Americanah’

By Rayiah Ross

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

“If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place.” (Chapter 26, Pg 406)

“It was true that race was not embroidered in the fabric of her history; it had not been etched on her soul.” (Chapter 37, Pg 418)

“She liked, most of all, that in this place of affluent ease, she could pretend to be someone else, someone specially admitted into the hallowed American club, someone adorned with certainty.” (Chapter 1, Pg 3)

“Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.” (Chapter 33, Pg 378)

“They roared with laughter, at that word ‘Americanah,’ wreathed in glee, the fourth syllable extended, and at the thought of Bisi, a girl in the form below them, who had come back from a short trip to America with odd affectations, pretending she no longer spoke Yoruba, adding a slurred r to every English word she spoke.” (Chapter 5, Pg. 78)

“Relaxing your hair is like being in prison. You’re caged in. Your hair rules you.” (Chapter 20, Pg 257)

“Maybe it’s time to just scrap the word “racist.” Find something new. Like Racial Disorder Syndrome. And we could have different categories for sufferers of this syndrome: mild, medium, and acute.” (Chapter 34, Pg 390)

“And her joy would become a restless thing, flapping its wings inside her, as though looking for an opening to fly away.” (Chapter 4, Pg. 76)


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