Americanah 4/11

Q: Americanah begins with Ifemelu getting her hair braided in a hair braiding parlor. The hair braider, Aisha, is very preoccupied with marrying one of her two Igbo boyfriends and wants Ifemelu to help. Aisha acts desperate, and at first glance seems to fit the stereotype of the scheming single woman fishing for a husband like it’s her only purpose in life. On page 22, Ifemelu wants nothing to do with the scheme, and remarks that it would have made a good blog post, “How the Pressures of Immigrant Life Can Make You Act Crazy.” How does this remark show the complexity of Aisha’s situation and break the stereotype?

A:
This remark definitely shows the complexity of Aisha’s situation. She is stuck in between these two men that she wants to marry but they both believe that “Igbo people must marry other Igbo people.” She asks Ifemelu for help because Ifemelu happens to be Igbo herself but Ifemelu doesn’t want anything to do with her.

I think this situation breaks the stereotypes because they are all immigrants that are living in America trying to make a living. The stereotype for their culture is that they should all be back in Nigeria and marrying into their cultures. They have broken this stereotype.

Even the fact that Aisha wants to marry outside of her culture is breaking the stereotype.

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