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My Mother, the Crazy African

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “My Mother, the Crazy African” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “My Mother, the Crazy African” (2009)

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Genre: Short story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 1977) is a Nigerian author and a feminist. Her novels and short stories reflect her interest in African culture and explore the experience of women of color. Some of her most popular include the novels Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Americanah (2013), and the essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014). 

Extract 

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Social setting

The story’s social setting briefly looks at the challenges faced by immigrants in the US. Lin’s father, for example, was forced to work “for three years, a regular job as well as moonlighting” (p. 1, ll. 29-30) after he finished his residency to afford the family’s home. This shows that immigrants often struggle more than Americans when it comes to getting well-paying jobs and saving money. Lin also talks about the challenges faced by her mother, like getting used to news about murders (p. 1, ll. 23-24) and getting around town by herself. 

The social setting also looks at the issue of discrimination, which is illustrated by Matt’s attitude towards foreigners: “I have seen Matt laugh at the Indian boy with the name that nobody can pronounce. The poor kid's accent is so thick he can't even say his name audibly” (p. 3, ll. 9-10). Matt’s attitude hints at bullying and discrimination based on race and language, which explains Lin’s desire to escape her accent to appeal to him. 

Then, the social setting looks at the issue of cultural differences, which is...

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My Mother, the Crazy African

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