13 April 2011
The Thing Around Your Neck
Throughout Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s, The Thing Around Your Neck, she showed characters in different categories based on their religion and ethnic background. Many examples are used to group different people, but the one that sticks out the most for me is the scarf and how it is represented in her story, A Private Experience. This scarf that is hanging around this woman’s neck represents who she is as a person, and what ethnicity she holds. This simple scarf not only breaks the barrier between two characters of different backgrounds but it units them as one. That same scarf also breaks a stereotype of a certain religion and brings these two characters that share different religious beliefs to become two women who are trying to survive.
In the story, A Private Experience, the item of a scarf brought the main character Chika, a Christian woman, and another woman, who happened to be Muslim together as one. That same scarf also separated these two women because of their different ethnic backgrounds. When the two characters first meet Chika identified this other woman as a Muslim right away because of the thing that was around her neck. “And that she is Muslim, because of the scarf. It hangs around the woman’s neck now, but it was probably
wound loosely round her face before, covering her ears” (44). This simple piece of material classified this woman as a certain type of ethnic background and was the piece that separated these two characters. That thing around her neck was a barrier that caused Chika to group her into a separate group of people. Because of this “thing” around her neck, Chika saw her as a Muslim first, and a woman second. The scarf grouped these two people, who both were woman, into different groups of woman; based on their religious background. Just by looking at this item, Chika knew what type of Hausa-Muslim she...