“Cosmopolitanism” by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Cosmopolitanism can best be defined as the ideology that all human beings belong to a single community based on a shared morality.
Throughout both Growing my Hair Again and Kelemo’s Woman, Iriola and Nneke are both almost “trapped” in a certain lifestyle.

Nneke is suppose to be mourning the loss of her husband, who also happened to be very abusive towards her. One way that she is able to make herself feel happy and free, is by going to get her hair done. Her hair is almost like the one thing left that she has control over. Another thing she did in the story to make herself feel happy and free was getting her tubes tied and not telling her husband. This allowed her to have control over her own body, which meant not being able to get pregnant, which is what her husband wanted. While all this happened, while her husband was alive she still abided by everything he told her, prepared his meals and endured his awful way of treating her.

On the other hand, Iriola also tried to do things that made her happy while still doing what was expected of her. Throughout the story Kelemo is ready to go out and fight for what is right for their country and he almost forces Iriola to go as well even though she is still mourning the loss of her mother. Although she does go with Kelemo, which is fulfilling what she is suppose to do as wife, she decides to do her own thing and basically leave Kelemo behind because she needed to do what her mother told her to do. The story even ends with the line that says “and I never disobeyed my mother.”


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