Half of a Yellow Sun | Study Guide

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Half of a Yellow Sun | Part 3, Chapter 21 : The Early Sixties | Summary



After sleeping with Olanna, Richard avoids Kainene, fearful he will lose her when she finds out. Despite his awareness that Olanna was using him, Richard was able to perform sexually with her better than with Kainene.

Accompanied by Susan, Richard attends a memorial service for Sir Winston Churchill. Afterward they go for a drink at the Polo Club. Susan tells Richard to use a condom with Kainene, saying, "One must be careful, even with the most educated of these people." Susan reveals she had an affair in order to pass the time until Richard returns to her, which she believes is inevitable.

The chapter closes with an excerpt from The World Was Silent When We Died, which discusses the way starvation in Biafra grabbed the world's attention during the war.


Sir Winston Churchill was the British prime minister who led Britain to victory in World War II. During the war many Africans, who were still living under British rule, fought alongside British troops. One outcome of this was the expectation among Africans that they be given rights in exchange for their wartime service to Britain, as well as the realization that the British soldiers were no different or superior to themselves. Both Susan and Richard admire Churchill.

Susan's incorrect assumption Richard's relationship with Kainene is a temporary and ill-suited affair that will end when Richard comes to his senses and returns to her, is underlain by her racist conviction Kainene is not her equal because she is African. Richard finds Susan's attitudes dull as well as offensive. He sees her as an idle expatriate of questionable morality, whose contempt for Nigerians boosts her own spurious sense of moral superiority.

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