Themes

Cultural differences

The main theme of the story “The Thing Around Your Neck” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is cultural differences, leading to culture shock when the main character comes into contact with a culture completely different from her own. 

The title of the story, “the thing around your neck”, creates an expectation of unpleasantness from the very beginning. In the context of the story, it becomes a metaphor for the anxiety and isolation which Akunna has to deal with in America, mostly because of her difficulty in connecting with her new environment. It is also a symbol of the weight of expectations which can bring someone down.

The cultural differences between Nigeria and America make Akunna experience culture shock, both in her interactions with her customers, as well as in her interactions with her boyfriend. She finds it difficult to understand and adjust to her new environment, where so many things are different. Akunna also has trouble understanding some of the behaviors which directly contradict her knowled...

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