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Overview of the Story

Author: Ama Ata Aidoo

In this story, a girl called Adjoa had always been underrated because she had thin legs. The details show how Adjoa proved her doubters wrong and achieved something remarkable in her life.

The girl who can video Analysis

This article will cover the

  • Summary of the story
  • Characters
  • Themes
  • Literary devices
  • Setting
  • Point of view
  • Some questions and answers
  • Conclusion

Summary of the Girl Who Can

Adwoa is a seven- year-old girl who comes from a village called Hasodzi in the Central Region of Ghana.

She lives with her mother, Maami and grandmother, Nana.

Adjoa’s problem is that, she finds it difficult to find the right words to express her thoughts. She wished the grown-ups would listen to her when she had something to say.

Her grandmother Nana is the biggest culprit in all of this. This is because whenever she tells her something on her mind, she would either burst into laughter or warn her never to repeat what she said.

The topic of discussion in the house is usually about Adjoa’s thin legs. Nana always argues with Maami over Adjoa’s thin legs.

Nana’s problem with Adjoa is that, her legs are too thin for a woman. According to Nana, a woman should have solid hips and good calves to support childbirth.

Adjoa’s mother always tries to counter Nana’s argument by saying that, “some people have no legs at all”

Adjoa is not happy about the fact that her two favourite people thus, Nana and Maami, should constantly argue about her legs.

Because of Nana’s words, Adjoa is curious about the approved kind of legs a woman should have to be able to give birth.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to see the legs of older women in her town because the women wear long dresses all the time. The only legs Adwoa gets to see are those of Nana, Maami and the girls in school

Adjoa likes to walk to school even though the distance from her village to school is long

Nana thinks educating Adjoa is a waste of time while Maami insists on her education.

Adjoa’s secret is that, she can run very fast. It turns out Adjoa’s thin Legs are useful after all. This is because she has been selected to represent her school in a district running competition.

Nana upon hearing this news has stated treating Adjoa differently. She even washes her school uniform and irons them as well which is a surprise.

Adwoa won every race she run for her school and even won a cup for her school.

Nana is now overjoyed about Adjoa’s victory. She even carried the cup at her back to the village to show Maami before taking it to the headmaster.

Nana has come to the realisation that thin legs can also be of use. As for Maami, she is speechless about Adjoa’s victory.

Characters in the Story

Adjoa: A seven-year-old girl with thin legs.

Maami: She is Adjoa’s mother and the daughter of Nana.

Nana: She is the mother of Maami and the grandmother of Adjoa.


Hasodzi in the Central Region of Ghana.

Point of view:

First person narrative.

Themes in the Story

1. Beware of looking down on others because of their physical appearance: Nana thought nothing good could come from Adjoa’s thin legs but that proved to be a mistake.

2. There is a reason for everything that happens in life: Adjoa’s thin legs had a purpose in her life. Adjoa had a special ability to run because of her thin and long legs.

Literary Devices Found in the Story


  • “Ah, maybe, with legs like hers, she might as well go to school.”
  • “But she walks behind us school children, as though she was on her way to someplace else.”
  • Like they do with babies.


  • They also say that when all of Africa is not choking under a drought, Hasodzi lies in a very fertile low land in a district known for its good soil.
  • Plus, that is what shuts my mother up for good.
  • But she walks way behind us school children, she was on her way to some place else.


  • Nana is my mother’s mother.
  • Never, never, but never to repeat that.
  • She would laugh and laugh and laugh.
  • And ironed and ironed and ironed the uniform.


  • When I came into the land of sweet, soft silence.
  • Nana is such a good grown-up.
  • This is because you are sure such legs would support solid hips.
  • Nana is my mother’s mother


  • If I had been the uniform, I would have said aloud that I had had enough.


  • She carried the gleaming cup on her back.

Rhetorical question

  • Thin legs can run…then who knows?…
  • What do I know about good grown-ups and bad grown-ups?


  • Hm, Hm, Hm,

Questions and Answers on the Girl Who Can

1. Why was Nana disturbed about Adjoa’s legs?

Ans: She thought that Adjoa’s legs were too thin and too long for a woman.

2. What is required of a woman before she can be fertile, according to the story?

Ans: Solid hips and good calves

3. What is the dominant theme of this story?

Ans: It is a mistake to underrate people because of their physical appearance.

4. Why did Nana start washing Adjoa’s school uniform all of a sudden?

Ans: Because she started taking Adjoa more seriously when she realised that Adjoa had a special ability to run.

5. What were the controversial opinions that Nana and Maami had about girl-child education?

Ans: Nana saw girl-child education as a waste of time while Maami wanted Adjoa to at least learn how to write and calculate some things.

6. How would you describe Nana as a character?

Ans: It is difficult for Nana to change her views and opinions on certain subjects. She only believes when she sees.

One could say Nana is a skeptic.

7. Why was Adjoa confused about what to say and what not to say?

Ans: Because no one explained to Adjoa why some of the things she said was wrong or right.

8. What did Adjoa win for her school?

Ans: The cup for the best-round junior athlete.

9. What did Adjoa prove by being the best-round junior athlete?

Ans: She proved that thin legs could be useful.

10. Why did Nana usually say that Adjoa did not know the problems of this world?

Ans: Because Nana felt that Adjoa was fortunate because she always had enough food to eat.

11. Why did Adjoa enjoy walking to school?

Ans: She had long legs which made walking easy for her.

12. The narrative technique in the above story is

Ans: The first person narrative

13. Who was referred to as Kaya in the story?

Ans: Maami


The girl who can is an interesting story which teaches us that nothing in life is completely useless. After all God created everything for a special purpose.

Sometimes, your weakness could be your biggest advantage.

I am curious to see your thoughts on this story.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you!


George is interested in self-education, knowledge building and self expression through writing!

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