The Interference of the Past in "Ghosts" 12th Grade

Culture perceives ghosts as apparitions that appear in the dark to petrify the living. Adichie’s interpretation of ghosts, however, transcends the literal. In “Ghosts,” true phantoms are the memories that haunt us. James’ past trauma festers as memories, eventually altering his identity. These memories interrupt his life, moving him to acknowledge the suffering he has repressed. This traps James between the past and present, resulting in a fractured sense of self. James’ changing identity allows him to accept the unreal and deviate from his logically-based beliefs. Through the war and its aftermath, James recognizes his powerlessness. This shift in control changes his approach to corruption. Trauma, regardless of his neglect, transforms James’ perception of culture, power, and spirituality. By interweaving past and present, Adichie illuminates suffering’s effect on identity.

Suffering moves James’ identity to the boundary of the past and present. He does not fully engage in the current moment, nor does he accept the trauma of his past. Adichie constantly shifts between his memories and the present narrative, thereby reinforcing James’ fractured sense of self. When Ikenna asks about Zik, James avoids the consequences of trauma....

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1054 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8241 literature essays, 2283 sample college application essays, 359 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in