Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo focuses on a 10-year-old Zimbabwean girl named Darling. Together with her friends, GodKnows, Baster, Stina, and Chipo, they engage in mischievous activities such as stealing guavas. However, they experience a lot of hardship as well. Police officers demolish their homes and their school is closed. Moreover, their fathers must leave to look for jobs overseas. Darling and her friends live in poor neighborhoods in Zimbabwe, and they constantly think about living the good life in countries such as the United States.
Darling has the opportunity to live a better life with her aunt who resides in Detroit, Michigan. Therefore, she goes to the U.S. with the hope of living the American dream; however, she comes to realize that the opportunities for immigrants are limited. Because of the language barrier, Darling finds it difficult to communicate with the locals.
Bulawayo reveals the many challenges African immigrants encounter when they go to the U.S. in search of a better life. For instance, they have to deal with the several misapprehensions regarding their home countries. In the process of navigating, correcting, or accepting those misapprehensions, immigrants must also learn an entirely different culture.