Outer characterization

Lin is one of the main characters in the short story “My Mother, the Crazy African” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Lin has been living in Philadelphia for three years (p. 1, l. 22) and is a teenager. Although she calls herself Lin when her mother is not around (p. 1, l. 17), her name is Ralindu, which means “Choose Life” (p. 1, l. 18). She is also her parents’ only surviving child, as her brothers died when they were babies (p. 1, l. 19).

Inner characterization

Lin is mainly characterized by her rejection of her Nigerian heritage. She is frustrated and ashamed of her Nigerian background and takes several measures to distance herself from it. First, she shortens her name to Lin because she feels that “a name like Ralindu and an accent are too much” (p. 1, l. 19-20) for her to deal with. By rejecting her name and the story behind it – she is her mother’s only surviving child – Lin implicitly rejects her heritage.

Moreover, she attempts to get rid of her accent, which reminds her of Nigeria:

I used to make her say words so I would practice and get the right American inflections. I wish Nigeria hadn't been a British colony, it's so hard to lose the way they stress their words on the wrong syllables. (p. 3, ll. 7-9)

Lin’s attempts to distance herself from her Nigerian heritage are influenced by her relationship w...

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