In this section of the study guide, you can find the most important aspects to focus on when analyzing a short story like “A Private Experience” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The short story has a fragmented structure—present events overlap with future ones, a plot technique called flash-forward (or prolepsis). The only active characters in the present action are Chika and the Hausa woman.

The action takes place during the '90s. The physical setting is closely linked to the social setting, as it reflects the problems in Nigerian society, namely the ethnic and religious conflict between the Igbo who are Christian and the Hausa who are Muslim.

Regarding its language, the story is a combination of dialogue and narrative mode. Direct speech helps characterize the characters and gives authenticity to their interactions. The narrative passages help readers better understand the plot and Chika’s (the narrator) perspective.

Next, we will analyze the story “A Private Experience” by focusing on all the above-mentioned elements.