Characters

The most important characters in the story “Tomorrow Is Too Far” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are the female characters: the narrator, the grandmother, and the mother.

The characters presented or mentioned in the story are: the narrator, Nonso (the narrator’s brother), Dozie (the narrator’s cousin), the narrator’s mother, father and grandmother, and the grandmother’s neighbors. Some of these characters are absent from the action or episodic and they contribute to building the social setting.

Dozie is a flat (unchanging) character who continues to love and look up to the narrator throughout the story, only wanting what she wants. However, he is also the only character who appears to care strongly about the narrator and to understand her pain. Nonso is only lightly characterized, suggesting that the narrator’s bitterness towards him is not based on Nonso’s character, but on how he is treated by her mother and grandmother.

The narrator

The narrator is the main character in the short story. However, she is not a narrator in the usual sense, using the first person. Instead, the story is told using the second person and the narrator is addressed as “you”, allowing the reader to feel a close connection to her. The plot revolves around the way she perceives the events surrounding her brother’s death, her relationship with her family, and the fact that she caused her brother’s death.

The narrator’s outer characterization informs us that at the time of the events she was 10 years old, and she is 28 years old at the time of the narration. Ethnically, she is Nigerian-American. She describes herself when she was 10 years old as having a “voice pure like water and legs like elastic bands” (p. 29, l. 36), and as a better tree-climber than her brother. At the time of the narration, she works in an office and lives in New York.

Inner characterization

The narrator’s inner characterization is conveyed through her attitude and her actions, both as a child and as an adult.

When she was a child, the narrator was deeply frustrated by the fact that her older brother was favored by her parents and her grandmother, not because of his qualities, but because he was a boy:

“Grandmama let only your brother Nonso climb the trees to shake a loaded branch, althou...

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