The short story “The Headstrong Historian” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie begins with a woman, Nwamgba, remembering her dead husband, Obierika. 

Nwamgba meets Obierika when she is very young, and, years later, his family goes to Nwamgba’s parents to arrange a marriage between the two. Nwamgba’s mother is reluctant to agree, as Obierika’s family has a history of few children and many miscarriages, but Nwamgba will not be swayed and claims she wanted to marry Obierika and would not accept another husband.

Before they get married, Obierika often visits Nwamgba with two of his cousins, Okafo and Okoye, to whom he is very close. However, Nwamgba notices that they are envious of Obierika because he is wealthy. They rarely work and ask things from Obierika.

Nwamgba has several miscarriages. She talks to her friend, Ayaju, who is very knowledgeable about finding Obierika another wife that would be suitable for him. Ayaju recommends a young girl who is quite obedient. However, Obierika postpones making a decision, even when Nwamgba has another miscarriage. Then Nwamgba gets pregnant again and carries to term. She has a son whom she names Anikwenwa. The envy of Obierika’s cousins grows.

One day, Obierika ...

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