Monday, October 6, 2008

Short Story: My Mother, the Crazy African by Chimamanda N Adichie

Short Story Monday

My Mother, the Crazy African, a short story, was written by Chimamanda N Adichie before she wrote and published her novels. She was a college senior at the time of writing this story was going by the name of Amanda. I found this story online on Web Del Sol.

This story too deals with immigrant experience, like You in America. It is about a young girl who lives in Philadelphia with her parents. Her mother is very much the Nigerian. She speaks, thinks and does everything that has to do with Nigeria. She is proud of her roots. But the young girl Lin, whose real name is Ralindu, hates anything that reminds her of Nigeria. She wants to belong in US. She dislikes speaking Igbo, which she has to speak with her mother. Her father too has adapted well to his adopted country.

When people ask where I am from, Mother wants me to say Nigeria. The first time I said Philadelphia, she said, "say Nigeria." The second time she slapped the back of my head and asked, in Igbo, "is something wrong with your head?""

Lin tries to fit in, behaving like any other average American kid. Her mother does not like it when a boy Matt, arrives to study with Lin. According to her, girls should be only be friends with girls and boys with boys.

"Americans don't care about that nonsense of being from your ancestral village, where your forefathers owned land, where you can trace your lineage back hundreds of years. So you trace your lineage back, so what?"

Lin is torn betwen being a Nigerian and an American. She wants to fit in but her mother wants her to retain her identity. Here lies the dilemma of every immigrant. How to deal with this situation. Adichie has dealt with it very well. She has asked relevant questions. Even though, no solution is offered, her prose holds our interest. At the end of it, I liked the mother more than the daughter. Just click on the title to read it online....