Professional Teacher
The danger of a single story

Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie has published poems, short stories, and three novels, but she takes issue with having just a 'single story'.


Adichie explains this idea well by telling this story:

"I recently spoke at a university where a student told me that it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had just read a novel called American Psycho -- and that it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers."


I posted a video from her speech on TED along with a PDF guide and discussion sheet on my blog:

Jul 15, 2014 11:46 PM
Comments · 9

Though I agree that some people seem to be very fixed in the 'single story' they have of others, I hope that presentations such as the one Adichie gave can be 'revolutionary'.  Thank you again, Comandante, for your thoughtful responses. :)

July 16, 2014

In this case, Adichie is referring to a 'single perspective' rather than being single, or unmarried.


a single story = 1 story, viewpoint, or perspective

July 16, 2014

It is great to read your responses to the questions, Comandante.  I include a PDF with the presentations in case someone would like to use the topic in a lesson with me to practice speaking in English.  


I agree with your observation about the 'single story' of the Middle East portrayed by international news media.  It is unfortunate that coverage of the region in news media is so narrow.


I do think that the line between 'stereotype' and 'a single story' is very thin.  I would say that Adichie seems to describe a personal, individual experience when she says 'a single story', rather than focusing only on power.  

July 16, 2014

Adichie asserts "power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person , but to make a definitive story of that person " Can certain people hold greater or lesser power over stories than other?


Yes, sure look at the media. What do you see? 


Is is possible for a person to change the story that other hold about then ? Or in other words, can a person affect their own story?


It is depent on that " other" if the other is already bigot person so what can you do! Although, it is hard for some people but it is not impossible to the other. 


What can be done to make stories more complete? What steps do you think Adhicie was suggesting in her presentation?


Well, telling the truth would be enough to complete the story. Telling it all not part of it . Honesty is the best strategy otherwise "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." _George Orwell


The beauty of her speech is by its revolutionary act. Telling the people something completely different from what they always hear . Hopefully, some minds wake up.

July 16, 2014

In the context of this presentation, Could Adichie have used the term 'stereotype' instead of story? Are these terms synonymous?


hmmm it is look like the same but there is very thin line of difference. I think, single story is made by the people in power. Maybe I am wrong. What do you think?


Were you interested in other countries as a child? If so, did you read or hear any of their stories?

I was interested in Egypt and mostly because in movies. Also, always I wanted to see snow. So, it is not speacific country but it is about their cold climate .I didn't see it yet though.



July 16, 2014
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