Half of a Yellow Sun | Study Guide

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Half of a Yellow Sun | Part 3, Chapter 24 : The Early Sixties | Summary



Richard wants to beat Harrison for inadvertently revealing his liaison with Olanna to Kainene. Harrison happens to mention Odenigbo's outburst at Richard, and when Kainene asks why, Richard confesses. Kainene says she could forgive an infidelity with anyone other than Olanna.

Odenigbo and Olanna come to Kainene's house, but she refuses to forgive Olanna. She tells Richard she burned his manuscript, The Basket of Hands. Richard decides this means she will not break up with him, and this revelation is more important than the loss of his writing. Richard thinks, "for true writers, nothing was more important than their art, not even love," but he knows this is not the case for him.

The chapter ends with an excerpt from The World Was Silent When We Died. The author discusses how no world power came to Biafra's side to support its cause during the war, and blames British influence for this.


Richard surprises himself by rejoicing rather than mourning the loss of his manuscript. He had struggled a long time to find his voice, and was "finally confident [it] could become a book." Kainene's burning of the manuscript is her way of evening the score without leaving the relationship, just as Olanna evens the score in her relationship with Odenigbo by sleeping with Richard. Richard is aware of this, and the experience causes him to realize Kainene is more important to him than his life's work.

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