Half of a Yellow Sun | Study Guide

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Half of a Yellow Sun | Author's Note | Summary



Adichie writes that many of her characters are based on real people, but that "their portrayals are fictitious as are the events surrounding them." To write the book, she interviewed members of her family who told her their own stories of the war. She mentions books that helped her in her research (and includes an extensive list of relevant texts) and thanks all those who assisted with the writing of the book. She closes with the words, "May we always remember."


The text grapples with the idea of who has the right to tell the story of a colonized people. Adichie lost two grandfathers in the war, as she mentions in the book's dedication, and her entire family bears the memories and the scars of the wartime experience. Adichie herself grew up in a Nigeria that was attempting to come to terms with the war that began just 10 years before her birth. Like Ugwu, who writes The World Was Silent While We Died, through her writing, Adichie attempts to make sense of a difficult time in her country's history that affects her personally by elevating the perspectives of the subaltern and contrasting them with those who had greater access to the discourse and power conferred by the colonizing power. Her work affirms the importance of drawing upon memory to understand the present and to shape the future.

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