Setting

Published in 2009, the short story “A Private Experience” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in Nigeria, in the city of Kano during a riot between the two major ethnical groups in Nigeria, the Hausa and the Igbo. The reference to “the government of General Abacha”  suggests the events could take place in the 1990s (General Abacha ruled Nigeria between 1993 and 1998). Consequently, the story is set in a realistic socio-historical con…

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Physical setting

The main physical setting is the abandoned store in Kano, where the two characters hide from the riots on the course of one night: “The store looks as if it was deserted long before the riots started; the empty rows of wooden shelves are covered in yellow dust, as are the metal containers stacked in a corner. The store i…

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Social setting

Firstly, the references to the stores being closed because the government declared them illegal, as well as the references to General Abacha, suggests the story takes place in the 1990s, after he took the presidential power and instituted a military state. This was a time of conflicts and human rights abuses in Nigeria.

The riots that take place on the street in the story, following an Igbo Christian man accidentally driving over a copy of the Quran, show how the two ethnic groups often committed violent acts over religious issues. The story suggests that the Hausa people usually start such violent riots, but there are also in…

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