Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story “The Arrangers of Marriage” has a linear structure. The events take place in chronological order and center around the narrator’s struggles to become used to the American lifestyle and her new husband. 

The main characters are Chinaza Udenwa, a young Nigerian woman, and Ofodile Udenwa, a Nigerian medical intern who only wants to fit among the people in New York. Another important character is Nia, a black American woman who becomes Chinaza’s friend.

The physical setting is the city of New York. Ofodile takes his wife, Chinaza to various locations like the mall, a supermarket, and a McDonald’s, which highlight the differences between the Nigerian lifestyle and the American one. The social setting explores attitudes towards immigrants and gender roles.

The story is told by a first-person narrator, who is also the main character. The narrator offers a detailed account of the events, while also providing the reader access to her thoughts and feelings.

The language is neutral, and the author uses Nigerian words both for dialogue and narration. This highlights the authenticity of the text. 

You can read a more detailed analysis in the following pages.

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

These mentions made by the narrator highlight her disappointment. It also highlights the fact that the “arrangers of marriage” never seem to mention the whole truth, but only the good parts about the life that the married couple will have.


The “Good housekeeping all-American cookbook” is a symbol of Ofodile’s assimilation of the American culture. It highlights his loss of identity but also how he enforces a change upon his wife as well. It shows his opinion that immigrants should stop taking part in activities that are from their own culture and should conform to the American customs.

The apartment is a symbol of Chinaza’s failed expectations. Chinaza imagined Ofodile lived in a “house like those of the white newlyweds in the American films that NTA showed on Saturday nights”. Instead, she discovers he lives in a small, “furniture-challenged” apartment. Therefore, we can say that the apartment reflects Chinaza’s disappointment in her new life, which is quite different from what she expected.

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