Week Three: Sharing This Space: “A Private Experience” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan



“A Private Experience”, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In 2005, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s first novel, Purple Hibiscus, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In 2007: Half of a Yellow Sun won the Orange Prize. 2008: the author was awarded MacArthur “genius grant”.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This week we include a short story by Adichie. For your introspection, here is A Private Experience, from her short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck.

A Private Experience follows two women who find shelter in a shop following a riot in Kano. You can read it here.

Let us know your thoughts.

“Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan

Next for your reading and viewing today, we hope you’ll consider the speech “Pale Blue Dot”, offered by Carl Sagan.

Sagan prepared these comments in reaction to a photograph of Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU), as part of the “Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.”
During a public lecture at Cornell University in 1994, Carl Sagan presented the image to the audience and shared his reflections on the deeper meaning behind the idea of the pale blue dot: Sagan also titled his 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space after the photograph.

In Sagan’s speech we look across space at our own microcosm.Sagan included this piece in his book of the same name, Pale Blue Dot.

What context might this add to confronting our cultural narratives and differences in a confined space in the Adichie story?

Here is a YouTube clip of “Pale Blue Dot”, as well as the written speech: