This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Chinasa” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “Chinasa” 
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Genre: Short story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 1977) is a Nigerian writer. Her most popular works include Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Purple Hibiscus (2003), and Americanah (2013). She is also known for her speech “We should all be feminists” (2013), which was also turned into a published essay. Her works explore the experience of women of color and the Nigerian identity. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

Similes and metaphor

When the narrator examines Chinasa’s injured body, she describes it using the following simile: “It was the wrong time for humor but looking at her with mangled arms, she looked like a caterpillar”. This is meant to show the extent of Chinasa’s wounds, particularly on her arms. Comparing Chinasa’s body to a caterpillar might also be interpreted as a metaphor that refers to her state during the war. She is a farmer’s daughter who did not have access to education. At the end, the narrator finds out that Chinasa is a literature teacher and the education minister. Therefore, one can say that Chinasa has overcome her caterpillar state.

When the narrator sees the woman trying to feed her child, she notices that “her breast looked like a limp orange that had been sucked of all its juices”...

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