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Americanah

Characters

Obinze

Characters Obinze

Obinze is primarily characterized by his desire for truth and authenticity. While others fear Ifemelu’s blunt honesty, he finds it attractive, more so than the niceness promised by Ginika. Later, in his marriage, he tries to provoke Kosi into honesty by telling her blatant lies, attempting to make her more like Ifemelu, who is never afraid to disagree with him. After he is deported from England, he reflects that he will not try to immigrate again because he possesses enough relative privilege that, for him, truth does not have to be a “luxury.” For poorer immigrants, the financial opportunities available in England are such a drastic improvement to their lives in Nigeria that they prefer the deceit necessitated by illegal immigration. Obinze, however, grew up solidly middle class, and he can afford to live honestly in Nigeria, and does not judge all the lying he had to go through—a fake ID card, a sham green card marriage—to have been worth his hardships. At the end of the novel, part of his motivation for leaving Kosi is to not subject Buchi to watching her parents live a lie, again choosing a difficult truth over a pleasing fiction.