The Thing Around Your Neck: Exploring Identity and Belonging

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 603 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 21, 2024

Words: 603|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 21, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Identity in Transition
  2. Cultural Displacement and Loss
  3. Belonging and Community
  4. Conclusion

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s collection of short stories, “The Thing Around Your Neck,” the author delves into the complexities of identity, culture, and belonging for Nigerian immigrants living in both Nigeria and the United States. Through her poignant narratives, Adichie captures the struggles and triumphs of individuals caught between two worlds, navigating the challenges of assimilation while trying to hold onto their cultural heritage.

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Identity in Transition

One of the central themes in Adichie’s stories is the idea of identity in transition. Many of her characters grapple with the question of who they are and where they belong, torn between their Nigerian roots and the American society in which they now find themselves. In “The Thing Around Your Neck,” the protagonist struggles to reconcile her traditional Nigerian upbringing with the values and expectations of her new American environment. This internal conflict is a common experience for immigrants who must navigate the complexities of dual identities.

Adichie’s nuanced portrayal of identity challenges the notion of a singular, fixed identity and instead highlights the fluidity and complexity of individual experiences. For many immigrants, identity is a dynamic process that is shaped by their interactions with different cultures, languages, and traditions. As they navigate these shifting landscapes, they must constantly negotiate and redefine who they are in relation to their past and present realities.

Cultural Displacement and Loss

Another prominent theme in Adichie’s stories is the experience of cultural displacement and loss. Many of her characters grapple with feelings of nostalgia and longing for their homeland, as they struggle to adapt to the unfamiliar customs and norms of their new environment. In “The Arrangers of Marriage,” the protagonist finds herself caught between the expectations of her conservative Nigerian family and the individualistic values of American society, leading to a sense of cultural dissonance and alienation.

Adichie’s exploration of cultural displacement sheds light on the profound sense of loss that many immigrants experience as they leave behind their homeland and try to forge a new life in a foreign land. The rituals, traditions, and customs that once grounded them are now distant memories, replaced by the unfamiliar sights and sounds of their new surroundings. This sense of dislocation can lead to feelings of isolation and longing for a sense of belonging that transcends geographical boundaries.

Belonging and Community

Despite the challenges of cultural displacement and identity struggles, Adichie’s stories also highlight the importance of belonging and community for Nigerian immigrants. In “Jumping Monkey Hill,” the protagonist finds solace and connection in the company of other writers at a literary workshop, who share similar experiences of navigating the complexities of cultural identity and displacement. Through these relationships, the protagonist is able to find a sense of belonging and acceptance that transcends cultural differences.

Adichie’s portrayal of belonging underscores the importance of community and connection in the immigrant experience. For many immigrants, finding a sense of belonging in a new country is essential for their emotional well-being and sense of identity. By forging connections with others who share similar backgrounds and experiences, immigrants can create a sense of community that provides support, understanding, and validation in their journey towards self-discovery.

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Thing Around Your Neck” offers a profound exploration of identity, culture, and belonging for Nigerian immigrants living in both Nigeria and the United States. Through her rich and nuanced narratives, Adichie captures the complexities and challenges of navigating dual identities, cultural displacement, and the search for belonging in a foreign land. By shedding light on these universal themes, Adichie invites readers to reflect on their own experiences of identity and belonging, and to empathize with the struggles and triumphs of those caught between two worlds.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Thing Around Your Neck: Exploring Identity and Belonging. (2024, Jun 21). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“The Thing Around Your Neck: Exploring Identity and Belonging.” GradesFixer, 21 Jun. 2024,
The Thing Around Your Neck: Exploring Identity and Belonging. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
The Thing Around Your Neck: Exploring Identity and Belonging [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 21 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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