Narrator and point of view

The events presented in the short story “The American Embassy” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are told by a third-person narrator, who is only an observer. The narrator is limited to the woman’s perspective of the events, which helps readers have a better view of her thoughts and feelings. 

From the beginning, the narrator suggests that the woman is distressed, as she finds it hard to concentrate on the things around her (p. 80, ll. 5-11). Later, the flashbacks help the narrator reveal the woman’s trauma of seeing her four-year-old son getting killed by government agents. 

The narrator contours the woman’s tragedy gradually, revealing bits of information at a time. For example, the narrative does not reveal from the beginning that Ugonna died: 

… she invited those images of her son Ugonna’s small, plump body crumpling before her, the splash on hi...

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