The Danger of a Single Story


The non-fiction piece discusses the negative impact of society and stereotyping. Adichie discusses some of the issues that she faced when she left for America and how she came to terms with other people’s ignorance.

The piece is focused on ensuring communities listen to each other:

‘Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to 75

malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.’


Adichie was born in Nigeria. She went to University first in Nigeria, before leaving to attend University in the States. She often writes about her childhood and real events. She is a non-fiction and story writer.

author’s purpose

In 2009, Adichie attended TED talks and it was here that she completed a speech. It was later translated into 45 languages. Adichie discusses identity and ensuring that every voice is heard. TED talks are events when the audience can hear discussion about different topics. It is a way of having your voice heard.



As it was originally a speech, there are many different examples of language devices that are present due to spoken language.

Extended Metaphor

An extended metaphor is a metaphor that occurs throughout the entire piece. It represents a wider issue but the metaphor does not occur only once. It is more consistent/.

The story is an extended metaphor for the cultural ignorance that she encountered in America. She understands that she has only one voice but the incidents that occur must happen to all: ‘when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.’

Historical Figures

Throughout the piece, she mentions important historical figures. This includes ‘Alice Walker’


She continually mentions ‘African women’ and this emphasises her battle with the American society and the ignorance that she encounters.


It is important to recognise this as a speech, rather than a newspaper article. Adichie aims to inform the audience of her story and outlines that it is only one story and one voice. She has a central argument that we should not stereotype and we should aim to understand each other.

As a simple structure, the story begins in Nigeria, before it moves to America, moving again to Mexico later on.


Within your examination, you will be asked a series of questions about the article.

Some of the questions will be short questions. For these questions, you must look at the number of marks in brackets. It is important to answer in full sentences.

Other questions will be long questions. For these questions, you must look at using analysis. You will also be asked to compare. Think carefully about the key comparisons and plan your answer first.

Assessment features are __coming soon: ____check back here in the next few days for the opportunity to ____unlock assessment ____and access ____teacher-written questions ____with ____model answers.

Where did Adichie grow up?
Your answer should include: University campus / eastern Nigeria
Explanation: Adichie grew up on a University campus in eastern Nigeria.
What age did Adichie begin to write?
Explanation: She began to write at 7.
What did Adichie’s father do?
Explanation: Her father was a professor.
What age did Adichie go to the United States?
Explanation: What age did Adichie go to the United States?