I appreciate Adichie’s work with the short story completely. When compared with her novels, Things Around Your Neck shows a different writing style to the reader. Along with over all brevity, her sentences are made without trying to be too winded. They are efficient in conveying to the reader the reality and experiences felt by the characters.
And common to what we have spoken throughout the semester and to what she spoke about during her TED forum, is the analysis of what is considered to be real in terms of authenticity of culture and heritage. “Jumping Monkey Hill” delves deep into this subject, something that is integral to Adiche and arguably every writer of the course thus far. This sense of authenticity is brought up through the main character’s novel being challenged by the condescending and lustful Edward, the host for a Pan-African writer’s workshop. The main character finally exhibits some form of self-defense of herself and her authenticity, lashing out at Edward and a strong manner. This is perhaps the most demonstrative of examples of authenticity.
So what is the point of including this? What these short stories all seem to hammer home is the danger of the single story, Adichie’s central thought. This danger can stem from the prejudices held by individuals, who adhere to singular examples of what they have seen, heard, or learned. The danger that arises is the inflexibility of understanding a person.
I’d like to end this post with short story named after the book. There is a powerful moment, where our (different) protagonist mentions how she can alleviate herself of the things around her neck? There are a plethora of symbols of this moment. It could be being alleviated of her personal trauma at the expense of her uncle or it could be lifting her own prejudices against the Americans, who can’t seem to understand her. I’m interested in what everyone else thought.
Ps. sorry for not knowing any of the names.