A Cross-Cultural Love Story

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A Cross-Cultural Love Story
To begin, the novel Americanah is focused primarily on topics of love, race, and coming of age. It follows Ifemelu, a Nigerian woman who travels to America to attend school. Through her struggles encountering this unfamiliar culture, the reader can relate to Ifemelu through her determination to succeed in the face of adversity and prejudice. A significant turning point in the novel takes place when she is given a job as a nanny for two children. Through her interactions with the family, she eventually meets an interesting relative named Curt. He is visiting from Maryland, and Ifemelu reflects later that he always felt it was “love at first laugh” (pg. 193). As their relationship progresses, Ifemelu is whisked away in a fantasy romance, in a world she did not expect to become involved with. On pages 198-199, Ifemelu describes the perfection of her new life, yet she seems to be unsatisfied because she believes Curt is naïve of the true nature of the world, one in which she does not always feel welcome. This close reading will discuss the challenges Ifemelu faces within her relationship with Curt as well as relating it to Obinze, her previous relationship, including the cultural, romantic, and general personality clashes leading to its end.
The passage opens with Ifemelu thinking that while with Curt she
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As one can read in the next sentence, this is not the case with Curt and Ifemelu. She claims that Curt is always exclaiming, “I have an idea!” and this leads her to think of him as a “child surrounded by brightly colored toys…always being told his mundane ideas were wonderful.” This comes off as a bit strange to the reader because Ifemelu is supposed to be in love with Curt. However, the use of the word “mundane” in contrast with “wonderful” makes it appear as though some of Curt’s character flaws bother Ifemelu much more than she
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