Academic Master


The Danger of a Single Story Analysis

The author in “the danger of the single story” presented her experience of exploring cultural diversity and breaking stereotypes through literature. The objective of her argument elaborated the fixed perception as a result of a single story that inflicts the mindset of her, the pre-conceived notion of Americans about the Africans and the biases of the single-story leading to misconceptions in people in general.

The Speaker started with her upbringing in Nigerian culture, where she used to read British literature. The words of the writing developed her mind in a way that marginalized her thinking that a story has to have certain elements to depict a particular culture. Chimamanda Adichie portrayed aspects of British culture character as “blue-eyed, white, eating apples and drinking ginger tea.” Her perception changed after reading African authors. She realized the power of literature that changed the Nigerian girl’s perception of a single story and saved her [1].

I agree here with Adichie that at the beginning of the young age, literature must have elements of authentic flavor to that the children can get the essence of the writing in depth. Books have an immense effect on individual thinking. What you read becomes a part of you.

Adichie prolonged her arguments about how a single story can restrict your perception of other people. She mentioned a low-income family boy in her speech named “Fidie” when she was living with her parents in Nigeria. Her parents told her that the boy was so weak and her parents used to send his family food and clothes. One day, when she visited his place, she was startled by the way his family treated her with handwoven things and food. There, she realized the danger of a single story that drove her into the sick and miserable image of a boy’s family without knowing the story of his family and relying on a unique story by her mother.

Then, in another instance, Adichie mentioned her visit to the U.S. for education. Her roommate treated her as a conventional African who is unaware of Maria Carey’s music and is not knowledgeable enough to use the stove because she descended from damaged and poor African culture. The roommate had a single story of catastrophic Africans. She started understanding the perception of the roommate that it is not her fault, but she is bound to the individual narrative about Africans, such as “ people with their mouth and eyes in their breast” and “ half devil, half child,” as quoted by John Lok and Rudyard Kipling in American literature.

I liked the way Adichie told honestly about being guilty of being the single storyteller as the news reporter on her visit to Mexico. The way she tagged the condition of Mexicans as just as immigrants completely shifted the focus of the scenario toward the Mexican immigration story only. A single story can be created when you present people with things over and over again. I completely agree with this mindset of a human being. We believe what we have shown; we think what others want us to understand. We usually become so reliant on a single side of a story that we often forget to check the other hand. It is what we all do.

The highlight of Adichie’s storytelling happened when she answered a student about the shameful number of Nigerian sexual abusers, to which she responded the student with American rapists. Adichie’s balancing response showed the excellence and significance of the diversity of stories. It is essential to hear the diverse stories of an individual before coming to judgment. There is always a danger in knowing the only single narrative of any person. You ought to have different angles of the stories to break the stereotypes, to get the reality of the scenario, and to treat everyone with equality.

Lastly, I am highly stimulated by the motivation and work Adichie put into contributing to Nigerian library formation. She did not want the young generation or the other Nigerians to set them into the fixed mindset of the single story just because they cannot afford to read American or British literature. She wants all of them to explore diverse stories about people and places. According to Adichie,

“Stories can break your dignity, but they can also repair. When you get diverse stories, you get a kind of paradise.”

For me, Adichie’s strength lies in empowerment and being knowledgeable enough to cater to the challenges of life in a meaningful way. The way she balanced the potency and risk of storytelling is remarkable and descriptive enough. For instance, the media plays a biased role in the majority of the news and information that revolves around us. We believe what we see on TV, and we do not bother to think beyond the story whether It is authentic or not. We all need to explore more and get appropriate information to understand things and not be biased about them. We should not be blind to the media misconceptions. The key is to open yourself up to the stories and information from all places.


A chance 94. Response to “Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story.” 19 February 2013. 19 February 2013.

Kristen Sawyer. Reflection on “The Danger of a Single Story” and the importance of different narratives in education. 2 November 2011. 2 November 2011.



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