Half of a Yellow Sun | Study Guide

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Half of a Yellow Sun | Part 4, Chapter 33 : The Late Sixties | Summary

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Summary

Odenigbo says "the white man brought racism ... used it as conquest ... to conquer a more humane people," the Africans. Kainene responds, "So when we conquer the Nigerians we will be the less humane?" and announces her intention to cross enemy lines to trade. The next morning Kainene and Richard are awoken by a crowd of refugees beating up a young soldier for stealing corn. Kainene stops them and gives the soldier food. Her struggle to farm food in the poor, dry soil is wearing on her. Richard returns from relief headquarters with no food and a message that Biafra's "emphasis now is self-sufficiency and farming." Ojukwu announces he is leaving Biafra "to search for peace." That evening Kainene does not return. Two days later Richard and Olanna go looking for her. Crying on the drive back, Richard nearly wrecks the car.

Analysis

Odenigbo asserts his belief that Europeans attained hegemony, or domination, in Africa because the Africans are essentially different, that is, more humane and naturally without racism. The nobility of Africans, Odenigbo seems to be saying, is what made them susceptible to European conquest. Kainene counters with the opposing viewpoint that all people are capable of the same brutality against one another in the struggle for power.

Kainene takes on the work of organizing farming ventures as well as the risk of traveling behind enemy lines to trade with "illiterate Nigerian women who have what we need." Throughout the novel Adichie focuses on the contribution of strong women to the war effort. While the men are fighting, women like Olanna and Kainene bear the burden of caring for the needs of their families and communities. This is practical work, not based in idealism or patriotism, and here, in the final days of the war when Ugwu and Odenigbo have lost their fervor for Biafra and even Ojukwu is fleeing, this work continues for the women as the starvation conditions continue to worsen.

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