Second-Class Citizen

by Buchi Emecheta

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How is Adah's welcome to London depicted in Second-Class Citizen?

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In Second-Class Citizen, Adah's welcome to London is cold in both the literal and the figurative sense.

In the literal sense, the English weather is incredibly cold, certainly a lot colder than the weather in Adah's native Nigeria. It's March as Adah arrives in England, a time of year when the weather tends to be particularly chilly and raw. No wonder, then, that when Adah disembarks from the ship at Liverpool docks, the cold, biting wind against her face feels like a heavy blow from a boxer.

Adah finds Liverpool to be a grey, smoky city uninhabited by humans. No one lines the docks to greet the ship's arrival, unlike Takoradi, Freetown, and Las Palmas, where Adah's ship enjoyed bright, cheerful welcomes. This reinforces the sense that England has given Adah a cold welcome in the figurative sense.

This scene is very important as it foreshadows how Adah will come to feel about life in London, where she will live with her husband, Francis. By the end of the chapter, Adah has traveled to a cold, wintry London with Francis, foreshadowing the subsequent deterioration of their marriage.

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