Cell One Essay

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“Cell One,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 1. Nnamabia is a thief; he has a beard; he has a “fair complexion and large eyes, and a generous mouth that curve[s] perfectly” (par. 8); he has much lighter skin than his sister; he has been mischievous at least since he turned eleven; he is very popular and nicknamed “The Funk!”; “he [is] the kind of ladies’ man who [is] also a guy’s guy” (par. 11); he is badly upset over the treatment of the old man; he is beaten after standing up for the old man. Over the course of the story he learns that he has known no genuine hardship in his life and that occasionally having less pocket money than he would like is as nothing compared to the suffering of some of his countrymen. He is certainly treated differently than the other prisoners but more because of the money that is behind his education and social class than because of the education and social class themselves: He and his parents are able to pay for him to be better treated, allowed to bathe, and allowed to visit and eat with his family. 2. The sister has seemingly spent her life being compared unfavorably with her handsome, charismatic brother: “When my mother took us to the market, traders would call out, ‘Hey! Madam, why did you waste your fair skin on a boy and leave the girl so dark? What is a boy doing with all this beauty’” (par. 8)? Even after her brother has committed many crimes and been arrested for apparently being involved in cult violence, her parents are completely devoted to him. Breaking the car windshield is her protest against this favoritism, and her parents’ surprise suggests that she is, day to day, largely invisible to them. 3. Nnamabia seems to have committed crimes secure in his position of privilege; the narrator explains that wealthy young men rob their parents’ friends and that there are no consequences for these crimes. The crimes are
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