One aspect of Half of a Yellow Sun is the emphasis put on the education. Most of the adult main characters, while rejecting the British regime, have been British educated. Some of these educated characters, Odenigbo for example, look down on the uneducated and pay them no mind. Odenigbo, thus, demands that Ugwu go to school. He realizes that, in order for Africa to succeed on its own, the younger generations must be educated. However, this is almost paradoxical because the younger generations would be British educated. How could Africa succeed if it is using British tactics to escape from British hold? Each outcome would be essentially British either way.

This education plays a role during Part Two of the novel, because the audience can see that Ugwu is now not only aware of the current events, but can understand what is going on. During the first half, Ugwu still puts a lot of thought into tribal occultism and is frightened by how such magic could affect his life. By the second half, he is reading Dickins and beginning to carry out a more modernized life with more modern beliefs. While he still acknowledges his tribal upbringing, Ugwu is much more focused on realistic, adult issues, such as his sister being married and the establishment of Biafra.


Part Two of the novel also breaks down much of the extravagance that was presented earlier in the novel. Kainene and Olanna were both featured in the Lagos Life magazine and both their parents are seen as well-to-do moguls during this time period of the early sixties. However, during the second part, the Ozobia patriarch and matriarch are seen to be in denial of Nigeria’s true situation by running away. Olanna’s mother even carries her jewels around in a purse and keeps her diamonds in her bra. She goes on to complain about not having all of the cars she and her husband originally had.

The fact that their extravagant lifestyle fell apart can be seen as Adichie’s attack on the corruption that pervades Nigerian culture. By focusing on the material aspects of their lives, the Ozobia parents miss the entire point of the Biafran struggle in the first place. The future of Nigeria is clearly placed in the hands of the main characters: Odenigbo, Olanna, Kainene, Richard, and Ugwu.


About lnds-y

I'm an alumna of American University, where I received my B.A. in Literature.

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