Half of a Yellow Sun | Study Guide

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Half of a Yellow Sun | Part 2, Chapter 8 : The Late Sixties | Summary



Olanna postpones her trip to Kano until the fallout from the coup settles. Arize says she wants her unborn daughter to be like Olanna: "She must look like you on the inside. She must have your brain and know Book." Arize encourages Olanna to work on her relationship with Kainene. They listen to Rex Lawson, and Aunty Ifeka laughs about the murder of the Sardauna, saying his pleas for his life sounded like the goat-like bleating heard in the song. Olanna says the Sardauna should have been imprisoned, not killed.

Olanna's parents go abroad. They say they are going on holiday, but Olanna knows they are fearful of becoming targets of the civil unrest. Arize, Olanna, and Baby arrive at Olanna's parents' house in Lagos. The women go shopping, and Arize is amazed at the cleanliness of the supermarket. At the outdoor market, the women encounter a crowd slapping a man. They are trying to force him to admit he is Igbo. They suspect Arize and Olanna are Igbo, but the women escape when Arize begins speaking Yoruba. Olanna is stunned to learn Igbo people are being widely singled out and harassed, and some have gone into hiding. For Olanna, "life was insular and the news was unreal, functioning only as fodder for the evening talk."


The villagers in Kano are glad about the Sardauna's murder. Ahmadu Bello, who held the title of Sardauna, was the premier of Northern Nigeria and had been heavily involved in the administration since Nigeria's independence. Auny Ifeka feels justified in her hatred because the Muslim Bello implemented anti-Igbo policies. She is hopeful the new government will ensure the needs of the Igbo people are met.

Olanna's position is more complex. She is a gentle person who, unlike Odenigbo, is shocked and saddened by the violence. Her family is enmeshed in business with those in power who were killed. She has been insulated from the struggles of the village people by her life of privilege, afforded to her by her parents' position as movers and shakers who kowtow to foreign interests. She aligns herself with Odenigbo's progressive politics, at least in theory, but the actual and violent manifestations of the people's struggle for autonomy and self-determination shock and upset her. Her comfortable position as an idle intellectual is threatened as she begins to suffer the repercussions of this struggle in her personal life.

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