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‘Soft, Subtle Things That Lodge Themselves into the Soul’: Representation of Consciousness in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Thing around Your Neck


  • Danielle Mbesherubusa Mittag

Summary, in English

Since the initial publication of a bildungsroman in 2003, the work of Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has received much recognition from scholars and critics. The aesthetics of her fiction could, however, be further examined in relation to recurrent themes in her public speaking. The importance of rejecting stereotypes and the single story of Africa is one such theme. This essay argues that Adichie’s depiction of the perceptions, feelings and reasoning of third-person reflector characters in The Thing around Your Neck (2009) contributes to telling multi-layered stories. The tools of psycho-narration and narrated monologue, as first developed by Dorrit Cohn, are used to illuminate the ways in which Adichie narrates the consciousness of her nondiasporic characters in order to challenge stereotypes. The essay argues that these narratological techniques of representing consciousness afford a manifold effect of the novelist’s storytelling and thereby contribute to her project of telling complex and multiple stories of Africa. These multi-facetted stories, in turn, serve to either complement or to counteract the often-one-sided narratives one encounters in media, fiction and history representations of the African continent in general and of the novelist’s country of birth in particular. The essay concludes that, through her fiction, Adichie effectively articulates the link between the public and the private, thus preserving the singularity and humanity of her individual non-diasporic characters.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Representation of Consciousness
  • Dorrit Cohn
  • psycho-narration
  • quoted monologue
  • narrated monologue.


  • Cecilia Wadsö-Lecaros (PhD)