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The Danger of a Single Story (18:46)

Key Ideas

As this video progresses, key ideas will be introduced to invoke discussion.

Key Ideas

Think about the following questions as you watch the video

  1. 02:28 What kinds of characters did Adichie write about as a young girl, and what did these characters do? Why is it significant that Adichie chose to write about those characters and their lives?
  2. 04:04 Why did it matter that Fide’s brother had made a beautiful patterned basket? How did that affect Adichie’s understanding of the story of Fide’s family?
  3. 06:26 What expectations did Adichie’s roommate have about Nigeria and Africa more broadly? According to Adichie, what gave her roommate these expectations? How does it relate to Adichie’s previous point about the story of Fide’s family?
  4. 08:12 Why did Adichie’s professor think her novel lacked authenticity?
  5. 09:29 What did Adichie witness during her trip to Guadalajara that surprised her? Why was it surprising to her? What did this make her realize?
  6. 10:03 Why would starting a story with “secondly” affect different communities? What are examples that Adichie gives?
  7. 11:47 Why did Adichie tell the student that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers? What was different about Adichie’s understanding of America versus the student’s understanding of Nigeria?
  8. 14:24 Adichie describes negative experiences she and her family and friends have experienced in Nigeria, including poor healthcare and education, limited water, repressive governments, and poverty. She also mentions war crimes and unemployment. How, according to Adichie, do these stories fit into the stereotype of Africa as a “continent full of catastrophes.” What, according to Adichie, is the problem with stereotypes?
  9. 17:05 What are some examples Adichie gives of stories that challenge stereotypes?