Nwamgba

Outer characterization

Nwamgba is the main character of the short story “The Headstrong Historian” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Nwamgba lives in a remote Nigerian village. She was married to Obierika, who was later murdered by his cousins who also tried to steal some of Obierika’s land.

Nwamgba has several miscarriages and finally gives birth to a son, Anikwenwa. Later, she will also have two grandchildren: Peter – whom Nwamgba names Nnamdi – and Grace – who Nwamgba secretly calls Afamefuna, which means “my name will not be lost”. Nwamgba dies of old age at the end of the story.

Inner characterization

One of Nwamgba’s most important traits is her determination and her stubbornness. From the start, Nwamgba seems determined to fight for what she wants. When her parents seem at first reluctant to allow her to marry Obierika, Nwamgba does not hesitate to tell her father that she will not allow them to make this decision for her: “She went into her father’s obi and told him she would run away from any other man’s house if she was not allowed to marry Obierika.” From the start, Nwamgba shows that she will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.

This single-mindedness is also seen in the way she ...

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