The American Embassy

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The American Embassy” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “The American Embassy” (2009)

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Genre: Short story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 1977) is a Nigerian writer. Her most famous novels are Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Americanah (2013). The short story “The American Embassy” was published in the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009). Adichie’s fiction generally focuses on issues like race and gender, while her non-fiction often explores feminist topics. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 


The American embassy symbolizes the American dream. The story begins by mentioning “about two hundred” (p. 80, l. 2) people queueing outside the embassy, all of which feel the urgency of getting a visa: “they had all struggled for the visa line, dodging the soldiers’ swinging whips as they were herded back and forth before the line was finally formed” (p. 81, ll. 3-4). Some people are there for a student visa, while others need immigrant visas, visitors’ visas, or asylum visas. Either way, the American embassy symbolizes safety or opportunities, an American dream that people believe is worth risking their lives for. 

The soldier outside the embassy, as well as the government agents sent to look for the woman’s husband, symbolize the government’s abuse. The soldier whips...

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The American Embassy

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