Buchi Emecheta's novel Second Class Citizen follows the journey of the protagonist, Adah, from childhood to adulthood. Throughout her life, Adah overcomes many obstacles, and through her resourcefulness and determination, she is eventually able to achieve independence for herself and her children.
In the first chapter, Adah is approximately eight years old. Her brother goes to school, but she is not allowed to do so, because she is female and her family does not want to spend money to send her to school. Despite this, Adah makes up her mind that she is going to go to school. One day, she sneaks out of the house and runs to the school by herself. She bursts into the classroom and hopes that the teacher will allow her to stay in his class. The students stare at her after her disruptive entrance, but the teacher smiles at her and allows her to sit in on the rest of the class.
This event is significant, because it is the first example of Adah's determination and perseverance. At the young age of eight years old, she decides that she wants to go to school, and despite the obstacles in her way and lack of familial support, she finds a way to accomplish her goal. Her first day of school introduces us to her resourcefulness, independence, and determination. Her behavior as a young girl foreshadows future behavior, suggesting that Adah will continue to break barriers and overcome obstacles and adversity throughout her journey.