A Plot Of Purple Hibiscus Book
Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is about a fifteen year old girl named Kambili who is living in a colonial period in Nigeria. The book shows how the characters in this book are marginalized, excluded or silenced depending on their social groups. Kambili, Jaja and their Mama Beatrice, who are in the high class are all being silenced in the beginning of the book. Aunty Ifeoma and her children, Amaka, Obiora, who are in the low class, are excluded throughout the boom and silenced at the end of the book. Papa Nnukwu, who is also in the low class, is being excluded in the middle of book. There seems to be a category of who’s silent or excluded that depends on the social group of the characters in the book.
As readers, it is known that Kambili is a timid and shy girl throughout the flashbacks. She sometimes stutters when she speaks but she is mostly silent. The reason that she is silent is because of her Papa Eugene who is very religious and strict. Due to his religious beliefs and pride, he can become very abusive to his family. For example from page 100 to 103, Kambili needed to eat to take Panadol to stop her period cramps, even if it is before Mass. Her mother told her in a whisper to “eat a little corn flakes,quickly”. Unfortunately, her father found her eating and beat her with his belt along with Jaja and Mama Beatrice. That abusive relationship she had with her father made her silent. Kambili is too afraid to talk because she is afraid of what she will say will say to make Papa disappointed or beat her. She received some criticism from other people. Her classmates on page 51 says she is a “backyard yard” and Amaka from page 120 to 126 also sees her as a snob and Amaka’s friends calls her a sheep but they all don’t know the true reason behind her silence. And Mama Beatrice, she rarely speaks because she was also being silenced by Papa Eugene. She suffers miscarriages from his beating. It is noticeable that everytime she gets beaten by Eugene, she polishes her ballet figurines. For example, on page 192, Kambili notices that she polished the etagere while she has a swollen face the she asked when she polished and she answered “yesterday”. She never speaks about Papa’s violence neither does her children. Adichie shows that even the people of high class can be silenced by someone who is superior to them.
Secondly, Aunty Ifeoma, a widow who works at a university and raises three kids. She seems to be living a low class life due to Kambili’s description of her home. For example She said noticed “ the ceiling, how low it was. (…) unlike home” (p.112) and the air smells like kerosene. It seems like she has excluded herself and her children from the rich class life like Eugene’s family even if Eugene’s wealth could have been shared. She stays true to her country’s traditions unlike her brother. She once said that “sometimes life begins when marriage ends” (p.75) meaning despite her husband’s death and her shortage of money, she manages her life very well. Her father, Papa Nnukwu however gets excluded from Eugene’s life because he is a traditionalist and “not Catholic”. Papa Eugene considers him as “a pagan” and he doesn’t want his children to be near him. For example, on page 61, he didn’t want his children to stay at Nnukwu’s home longer than fifteen minutes.The exclusion of the low class people can sometimes be controlled by the superior or that they had done it to themselves to avoid any problems.
Suddenly, the pattern has changed a little. After Papa Eugene’s death, Kambili is now talkative and independent because she is no longer being silenced by her father. Mama Beatrice however, she is silent because of the crime she committed. Despite admitting to everyone even the media that she killed Papa Eugene, no one believed her so she silenced herself. During the flashbacks, Jaja changed and he was able to talk back to his father and became independent. However, his brutal experiences in prison made him silent. He even couldn’t speak with his eyes like he used to communicate with Kambili when Kambili visits him. Kambili is the only one in the rich class who is no longer silent.In the low class, we haven’t heard much from Aunty Ifeoma but she included herself in the family despite being far away because she moved to America. In the last chapter she sent Jaja recording of the family’s voices to comfort him and that shows that there will always be with Kambili’s family.
In conclusion, there comes a time where the high class people can be silent or being silenced and the low class can be excluded or being excluded due to their beliefs and that pattern can be changed because of the absence of that cause.Adichie shows how being social groups can have their disadvantages.
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Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is about a fifteen year old girl named Kambili who is living in a colonial period in Nigeria. The book shows how the characters in this […]