The longer she spent in America, the better she had become at distinguishing, sometimes from looks and gait, but mostly from bearing and demeanor, that fine-grained mark that culture stamps on people. (Chapter 17)

…I’m worried I will leave grad school and no longer be able to speak English. I know this woman in grad school, a friend of a friend, and just listening to her talk is scary. The semiotic dialetics of intertextual modernity. Which makes no sense at all. Sometimes I feel that they live in a parallel universe of academia speaking acadamese instead of English and they don’t really know what’s happening in the real world.

She felt as if she had somehow failed him and herself by allowing his mother’s behavior to upset her. She should be above it; she should shrug it off as the ranting of a village woman; she should not keep thinking of all the retorts she could have made instead of just standing mutely in that kitchen. But she was upset, and made even more so by Odenigbo’s expression, as if he could not believe she was not quite as high-minded as he had thought.

All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please these men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.

We define masculinity in very narrow way. Masculinity is hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak– a hard man.

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