Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree Summary & Study Guide

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree.
This section contains 460 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree Summary & Study Guide Description

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.

This guide is based on the following version of the book: Nwabani, Adaobi Tricia. Beneath the Baobab Tree. Katherine Tegen Books, 2018.

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree is a novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwabani. The novel fictionalizes the experience of a young girl kidnapped and held hostage by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. The novel is told from the first-person perspective of a young girl who is only ever named as “Ya Ta,” the Hausa phrase for “my daughter.”

At the opening of the book, Ya Ta is a dedicated student who dreams of receiving a scholarship so that she can go to study at university. She is from a poor family in a rural and agrarian community. Though the life that Ya Ta and her family lead is a relatively poor and unprivileged one, she and they are happy. Ya Ta and her best friend, Sarah, laugh at Ya Ta’s crush on Success, the son of her local pastor, a man known in the text as Pastor Moses. In class, Ya Ta impresses her teacher by knowing the definition of “democracy.”

One day, when Ya Ta’s mother is out of town, the village is raided. Many of the men, including Ya Ta’s older brothers and father, are murdered. Ya Ta is kidnapped by Boko Haram with her younger brother Jacob and her friend Sarah. They are poorly fed and clothed. While Ya Ta is separated from her brother Jacob, Ya Ta remains with Sarah. The two girls initially resist Boko Haram’s efforts to convert them. Sarah is beaten for lying about her menstrual cycle. Sarah and Ya Ta complete their training to become Muslims, and are renamed; Sarah becomes Zainab and Ya Ta becomes Salamatu, a word that means “safety” in Arabic.

Upon passing their Islamic education courses, “Zainab” and “Salamatu” are married to Boko Haram fighters. Ya Ta is married to a man named Osama, who mostly ignores her. However, Sarah’s husband treats her well and, gradually, she falls in love with him. As Sarah’s love for her husband clouds her overall judgment of Boko Haram, she and Ya Ta begin to grow apart. Ya Ta remains critical of Boko Haram, while Sarah eventually volunteers to wear what Boko Haram calls the “special vest.” Sarah goes out on a mission--presumably for some kind of suicide mission--and does not return.

Meanwhile, one day, the camp where Ya Ta is living is attacked. A combination of the Nigerian Army and international aid organizations swoop in, and Ya Ta is rescued from Boko Haram. The novel ends with Ya Ta reuniting with Pastor Moses. Though she is pregnant with Osama’s child, Ya Ta hopes to return to school again someday soon.

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