Structure

Like most short stories, “A Private Experience” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is structured around a single event—two women spend a night in a shop hiding from a violent riot on the streets of Kano, Nigeria. The plot revolves around religious and ethnic conflicts and, as a result, it has an important social component.…

...

...

Beginning

The short story begins in media res (in the middle of events) hooking readers’ attention by introducing the characters in action, as they climb through the window of a store: “Chika climbs in through the store window first and then holds the shutter as the woman climbs in after her.…

...

Middle

The middle of the short story comprises the rising action which combines present events with flash-forward (references to future events).

From the flash-forward sequences, we learn that Chika will find out later the cause of the riots, that her sister Nnedi will never be found, and that her parents will hold Masses praying to find Nnedi: “Later, Chika will learn that, as she and the woman are speaking, Hausa Muslims are hacking down Igbo Christians with machetes, clubbing them with stones.” ; “She will tape photocopies of the photo on the walls of the market and the nearby stores. She will not find Nnedi. She will never find Nnedi.” 

The present events convey the interactions between Chika and the Hausa woman in the store they are hiding, increasing tension by mentioning what is happening outside where people are slaughtering each other: “…looking out of the window they have just climbed through, its s…

...

Ending

The falling action shows the two women bonding again, as Chika hurt her leg on the way back and the Hausa woman gives her the scarf she wears to tie round her wound: “She wets one end of her scarf at the tap and cleans the cut on Chika's leg, then ties the wet scarf around it, knotting it at the calf.”

The two women spend the rest of the night inside the store and they part ways in the morning when the riot has settled.

The resolution shows the women saying goodbye, when Chi…

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in