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Americanah

Characters

Aunty Uju

Characters Aunty Uju

Aunty Uju begins the novel as Ifemelu’s mentor but shifts to a cautionary figure due to her willingness to subjugate herself for the promise of comfort. She justifies her dependence on The General by claiming that success in Nigeria relies on kissing up to powerful people. To maintain this success, she undergoes costly beauty treatments and devotes her time to false friendships, valuing The General’s standards over her own. However, this success proves to be fragile because she must uproot her life after The General dies. Her willingness to submit to power for immediate gain also reveals itself in her new, subdued personality in America. Ifemelu notices that Aunty Uju tries to Americanize herself quickly to gain acceptance. Aunty Uju can’t even laugh with Ifemelu about Americanisms because to laugh at them would be to deny their power to make her successful. Her initial interest in Bartholomew seems to be a desire to replicate her life with The General, and she leaves once she realizes that he will not bring her success. Aunty Uju’s constant sublimation of self contrasts with Ifemelu’s journey of self-honesty.