Purple Hibiscus

159

The Imagery of Power of Religion in Purple Hibiscus

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Religion. For most people, religion is like a puzzle piece to life. It carries a level of importance like no other and helps people live life with discipline, direction, and love. But, religion, if implemented incorrectly, can also criminalize people. It can make you close-minded, harsh, violent, and more. Such is the story of Papa, in Purple Hibiscus. The incomparable influence of religion on Papa pushes him to be violent and insensitive towards his family. In the novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Papa’s firm belief in Christianity and it’s unjustified implementation in daily life brings out change through Aunty Ifeoma’s persevering resistance and the family’s changing views on Papa.

Aunty Ifeoma speaks against Eugene, both directly and indirectly, and it is this resistance against his values and beliefs that inaugurates change. To begin, Aunty Infeoma puts forward the fact that sometimes, leaving your life partner marks the beginning of a successful and happy life. When talking to Mama (Papa’s wife), Aunty Ifeoma says, “Nyunye m, sometimes life begins when marriage ends” (Adichie 75). Aunty Ifeoma, losing her own husband to an accident and being a professor, has experience and knowledge. She gives Mama the example of her university students, specifically girls, who after obtaining their degrees and getting married, enter a world of inequitable control by their husbands. This also implies the event nearing the end of the book where in order for Mama to rebel against Papa and escape his atrocities, Mama may have to “end” her marriage as well. Papa would consider this as something against his values and beliefs, but Aunty Ifeoma doesn’t care; she speaks her voice out. In the same conversation with Mama, Aunty Ifeoma demonstrates oppression and resistance by turning down an irresistible offer by Eugene. She recalls, Have you forgotten that Eugene offered to buy me a car… but first, he wanted us to join the Knights of St. John, … send Amaka to a convent school. He even wanted me to stop wearing makeup! I want a new car, nyunye m, and I want to use my gas cooker again and I want a new freezer and I want money so that I will not have to unravel the seams of Chima’s trousers when he outgrows them. (95)

It is seen that Aunty Ifeoma was offered a good life only if she abided by the rules of Papa. She had to be a faithful devotee of Christianity, but her own values, morals and beliefs prevented her from doing so. She even goes as far as declaring that, “I will not ask my brother to bend over so that I can lick his buttocks to get these things” (95). It is also seen that Aunty Ifeoma isn’t afraid to talk up to and against Papa directly, although this scares Kambili to death. When Papa and Aunty Ifeoma interact for the first time in the novel, Kambili’s heart stopped, then started in a hurry. It was the flippant tine; she did not seem to recognize that it was Papa, that he was different, special. (77)

Kambili looks towards Papa as an ultimate figure, and that meant no one could talk against him in any way, shape or form. Neither Jaja, Mama or Kambili have the authority to go against Papa, but Aunty Ifeoma, partly unaware of the position Papa holds in their life, talks according to her own upbringing and personality. This very personality will slowly trickle down to Kambili and Jaja once they start spending more time in Nsukka with Aunty Ifeoma and her children.

Papa’s atrocious behaviour towards his family, heavily influenced by Christian traditions and beliefs, changes their opinion of him for the worse. To begin, Papa punishes Kambili for consuming food before going to Mass and punished the whole family for it. When Papa finds out, he screams, “Has the devil asked you all to go on errands for him? … Has the devil built a tent in my house? … [and] you sit there and watch her desecrate the Eucharistic Fast, maka nnidi?” (102). Kambili’s menstrual cycle begins and she consumes Papadol, a drug to relieve the pain, but Papa strongly disapproves of the breaking of the Eucharistic Fast. This is an instance of insensitivity, where Papa, rather than attempting to relieve Kambili’s pain, violently punishes her, alongside the family, because it does not follow Papa’s strict rules. This is one of the very first examples in the novel where we see violence in the family, and the continuation of it is the beginning of the end of Papa. Next, a horrific beating of Kambili is seen because she had a painting of Papa-Nnukwu, Papa’s father and so-called “heathen”. Kambili describes the experience and says in the novel, “The stinging was raw now, even more like bites, because the metal landed on open skin to my side, my back, my legs” (211). This is a big moment in the novel, when Kambili realises that for Papa, religious purity is more important than caring for a daughter. While she is in the intensive care unit, a new side to her view of Papa emerges, as when Mama tries to defend Papa, she “[found it] hard to turn, but [she] did it and looked away” (212). Kambili’s transition from a positive and loving view into a negative one has initiated change but Mama, still unaware of the tragic reality of the situation, stays put on Papa’s side. Finally, we see Mama, who was portrayed as a modest and compliant character, finally took her own “revenge” on Papa, after all that she faced with him. Kambili recalls, When she spoke, her voice was just as calm and slow. ‘I started putting the poison in his tea before I came to Nsukka. Sisi go it for me; her uncle is a very powerful witch doctor.’ (290)

Like Jaja, Mama decides to escape from Papa’s reigns and control, but her method of doing so was different. She fought violence with violence, and she is forced to ultimately do so as a result of Papa’s violence and control. Unexpectedly, we see that it is Mama’s opinion which has changed drastically, as she continued to defend Papa after Kambili thought otherwise.

The all-prevailing motif of religion in Purple Hibiscus greatly influenced the train of events that led to Papa’s demise. Through the resistance of Aunty Ifeoma and Papa’s monstrous demeanour towards his own family, Mama, Jaja and Kambili are able to comprehend the truth, albeit late, and take vengeance in their own styles. It is quite ironic; the very basis of his life and his actions in life were the causative factors of his own death.

Read more

229

The Portrayal of Gender Roles in Purple Hibiscus and I Am Malala

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

In our 2019 literature novels, both the women and men have not only experienced different types of oppression but have also overcome oppression in separate ways. Racial oppression is present in Purple Hibiscus. We see Gender oppression in Purple Hibiscus and I am Malala. Religions oppression is evident in the novels Purple Hibiscus and I am Malala and finally Social oppression is observed in Holding up the universe and Macbeth. In my essay I will be presenting where the suppression took place and the characters it affected.

In the novels Purple Hibiscus and I am Malala the authors all had similar ideas in which gender oppression was portrayed in each individual novel. In Purple Hibiscus, woman were seen as inferior to men. Eugene Achike “Papa” had always been seen as the man of the house which leads to him constantly thinking he’s superior to everyone in his family. Eugenes has a tendency to oppress the women in his life, this is evident in the character Beatrice Achike “Mama”. Beatrice is constantly silent to avoid humiliation from society and brutality from mainly Eugene. She doesn’t come out about how Eugene abuses her because she knows she’ll be humiliated. She knows that no one will believe her because she’s with Eugene who is perceived by everybody as a very likeable person because of the donations he gives to the church and the help provided for the community. Beatrice has been mirrored in a light that is in tolerance of men and showed when Eugene would beat Beatrice to the extent of the foetus in Beatrice uterus had been killed and she continued to tolerate that behaviour. Soon after Beatrice lost another baby too Eugene once again brutally assaulting her with a side table. The oppression Beatrice faced certainly came to an end, she struggled for many years and soon gained the courage to take matters into her own hands and poisons Eugene.

I am Malala portages very similar ideas to Purple Hibiscus in ways that women are seen as secondary to all men. Malala is passionate about creating a equal environment between the sexes, she often quotes the founder of Pakistan who encourages equality between the sexes and stands against gender oppression, Mohammend Ali Jinnah, “No struggle can succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.” In I am Malala women face everyday abuse and violence, It has been reported that, “90 percent of Pakistani women suffer from domestic violence” and this is yet another example of gender oppression faced in everyday Pakistan shown in I am Malala. In Pakistan when a child is born depending on their gender the reaction is different and shows us how women are treated just because of their gender, “I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give both to children” The Taliban who are, “Radical fundamentalists terrorist group” become a predominate group who oppress many women across Pakistan. The Taliban use violence and intimidation to enforce their ideas on how women shouldn’t be able to attend school and have a proper education. Many women are too petrified to stand up to the Taliban and because of the lack of education given to women, they are unsure about their rights as humans. Malala stands up for what she believes in and speaks out about women rights, in forms of radio broadcast and writing articles. The Tailban find Malala’s enthusiasm for ending gender oppression too powerful and decide to try and execute Malala, however the mission fails. The oppression faced by Malala and women who live in Pakistan to this date haven’t fully overcome gender oppression but I believe they have taken many steps to eventually reaching the stage of ending gender oppression in Pakistan. Therefore, we can see how Gender oppression is present in Purple Hibiscus and I am Malala.

Religious oppression is central to the novels Purple Hibiscus and I am Malala. In Purple Hibiscus, Eugenes religious beliefs had been shaped by the Catholic missionaries who are extremely strict in their religion. Eugene forces his beliefs onto his family and doesn’t interact with any person not of the same faith as him. Those beliefs have resulted in a large gap in Eugenes relationship with his father, Papa-Nnukwu who still follow the traditional Igbo rituals. Eugene oppresses the children to go visit Papa-Nnukwu due to the fact he sees him as a “Godless heathen” who follows Igbo rituals. And later on, even though Papa-Nnukuw has passed away Eugene still can’t bring himself to accept his father and doesn’t attend his funeral, “I cannot participate in a Pagan funeral.” He doesn’t allow Kambili and Mama to wear pants, they aren’t allowed to pray over meals because it’s long winded and informal and if any of this were to be rebelled against he would punish them because this is a disgrace to the Catholic beliefs. The Religious oppression was overcome by the poisoning and ultimately killing of Eugene.

In I am Malala, Religious oppression has been used as a framework to argue that women shouldn’t be given an education. The Taliban use the Muslim faith as an excuses that if women were to go to school they would be sent to hell. Malala doesn’t allow the fear of the Taliban to silence her and expresses exactly what she thinks, “They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits.” The Taliban believe that the Quran dictates that women have to wear a burqa and they must refrain from receive any type of education. Malala disagrees that if women don’t walk around with a burqa and be restated to an education that they are unloyal Muslims. However, the Taliban think otherwise and are insulted that a woman would go against what their interpretation of Islam says. When Malala tries to spread her idea that Allah would want women to receive an education the Taliban try to assassinate her but fail. Malala to this day still hasn’t stopped fighting for women equality and still faces the religious oppression everyday. I don’t think she has completely overcome the oppression but is definitely on the right track to doing so. Therefore, we can see how religious oppression is present in both Purple Hibiscus and I am Malala and how the oppression is still being over come to this day.

In the novels Holding up the universe and Macbeth Social oppression prevented the main characters from living their life freely. Holding up the Universe had many people involved with the oppression Libby Stout faced as well as Jack Masselin. Libby had been labelled “America’s fattest teen” at the age of sixteen. She had faced bullying when she was younger and ultimately lead to her being homeschooled due to the things said to her such as: “You’re so big you block the moon. Go home, Flabby Stout, go home to your room…” Libby internalises all the criticising from people and always absorbs the information into her head.

Read more

532

Analysis Of Purple Hibiscus By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Characters

Papa

“It landed on Jaja first, across his shoulder, Then Mama raised her hands as it landed on her upper arm, which was covered by the puffy sequined sleeve of her church blouse. I put the bowl down just as it landed on my back… muttering that the devil would not win” .

Papa is not sympathetic to any situation. If the children defy his wishes in anyway, violence follows.

“‘You didn’t put in your best this term. You came second because you chose to.’ His eyes were deep and sad. I wanted to touch his face, to run my hands over his rubbery cheeks. There were stories in his eyes that I’d never know” Papa only expects the best from his children, and punishes them for anything else.

Kambili

“I looked up to find Father Amadi’s eyes on me, and suddenly I could not lick the ube flesh from the skin… I looked down at my corn. I wanted to say I was sorry that I did not smile or laugh, but my words would not come, and for a while even my ears could hear nothing”/Kambili illustrates her affection towards Father Amadi and her refusal to speak her feelings to others at the beginning of the book.

“I would focus on his lips, the movement, and sometimes I wanted to stay like that forever, listening to his voice, to the important things that he said… Papa smiled, and I wished that I had said that before Jaja did”. Despite the abuse, Kambili only wanted to please Papa and make him proud.

Aunt Ifeoma

“I followed Amaka back to the kitchen and watched her slice and fry the plantains… Aunt Ifeoma asked Obiora to set the table. ‘Today we’ll treat Kambili and Jaja as guests , but from tomorrow they’ll be family and join in work”. Aunt Ifeoma sees Kambili and Jaja as equals to them, regardless of their wealth.

“Papa called that evening, as we sat around the kerosene lamp on the verandah. Aunty Ifeoma answered the phone and came out to tell Mama wo it was. ‘I hung up. I told him I would not let you come to the phone’”. Aunt Ifeoma cares for Mama and the children and wants to protect them from Papa’s wrath.

Jaja

“Jaja did not wait for their questions; he told them he had used rat poison, that he had put it in Papa’s tea. They allowed him to change his shirt before they took him away”.

Jaja is upset that he could not protect Mama before, so he does not hesitate to take the blame for killing Papa. “It was a double blow. I staggered. It was as if my calves had sacks of dry beans attached to them. Aunty Ifeoma asked for Jaja, and I almost tripped, nearly fell to the floor, as I went to his room to call him. After Jaja talked to Aunt Ifeoma, he put down the phone and said, ‘We are going to Nsukka today. We will spend Easter in Nsukka’”. Jaja grows into a parental figure for Kambili, taking charge and demanding that they’d be sent to Nsukka.

Symbolism

Purple Hibiscus

“Jaja’s defiance seemed to me now like Aunty Ifeoma’s experimental purple hibiscus: rare, fragrant with the undertones of freedom, a different kind of freedom from the one the crowds waving green leaves chanted at Government Square after the coup. A freedom to be, to do.” The Purple Hibiscus symbolizes defiance in the book. The flowers were given to Jaja by Aunt Ifeoma to plant in their home garden to remind them of the freedom found in Nsukka.

Figurines

“It cracked the top shelf, swept the beige, finger-sized ceramic figurines of ballet dancers in various contorted postures to the hard floor and then landed after them. Or rather it landed on their many pieces”. The figurines symbolized submission within the family. As the figurines were broken, the family shattered as well, fueling Jaja’s rebellion against Papa.

Conflicts

Kambili v. Amaka

“‘Aunty, there’s no water to flush the toilet’…[Amaka] ‘I’m sure that back home you flush every hour, just to keep the water fresh, but we don’t do that here’ “. Amaka often antagonized Kambili for being wealthy, furthering the separation between Kambili and Aunt Ifeoma’s children.

Papa Eugene v. Jaja

“‘You cannot stop receiving the body of our lord. It is death, you know that.’ ‘Then I will die.’ Fear had darkened Jaja’s eyes to the color of coal tar, but he looked Papa in the face now. ‘Then I will die, Papa’”. Jaja no longer stood for Papa’s abuse. He spoke out against him, challenging Papa’s authority.

Images

Kambili’s Sights After Papa Eugene Killed the Baby

“The black type blurred, the letters swimming into one another, and then changed to a bright red, the red of fresh blood. The blood was watery, flowing from Mama, flowing from my eyes.” When reading this quote, the reader pictures the torrent of blood coming from Mama after Papa killed her baby.

Garden

“The compound walls, topped by coiled electric wires, were so high I could not see the cars driving by on our street. It was the rainy season, and the frangipani trees planted next to the walls already filled the yard with the sickly-sweet scent of their flowers. A row of purple bougainvillea, cut smooth and straight as a buffet table, separated the gnarled trees from the driveway. Closer to the house, vibrant bushes of hibiscus reached out and touched one another as if they were exchanging their petals. The purple plants had started to push out sleepy buds, but most of the flowers were still on the red ones.” The reader is able to picture the well-tended garden outside of their house, this contrasts with the depiction of Aunt Ifeoma’s wild garden. This represents the structure of each household; Papa’s being strict and Aunt Ifeoma’s with freewill.

Ade Coker Impression

“He looked like a stuffed doll, and because he was always smiling, the deep dimples in his pillowy cheeks looked like permanent fixtures, as though someone had sunk a stick into his cheeks. Even his glasses looked dollish: they were thicker than window louvers, tinted a strange bluish shade, and framed in white plastic.” The reader pictures an innocent man, making it even more heartbreaking when he is murdered.

Flashbacks

“I had never been to the restaurant Genesis and had only been to the hotel Nike Lake when Papa’s business partner had a wedding reception there. We had stayed only long enough for Papa to take pictures with the couple and give them a present”. As they revisit, this quote emphasizes Papa’s need to look presentable among the public rather than actually caring about the married couple.

“‘I committed a sin against my own body once,’ he said. ‘And the good father, the one that I once lived with while I went to St. Gregory’s, came in and saw me. He asked me to boil water for tea. He poured the water in a bowl and soaked my hands in it’”. Papa retells this story after he boils Kambili’s feet for walking in the same house as a heathen.

Foreshadowing

Papa seeing the painting

“I knew Papa would come in to say good night, to kiss my forehead… I knew Jaja would not have enough time to slip the painting back in the bag, and that Papa would take one look at it and his eyes would narrow, his cheeks would bulge out like unribe udala fruit, his mouth would spurt Igbo words”. This references when Papa later finds the painting and lashes out on the children.

Papa’s Abuse of the unborn baby

“We will take care of the baby; we will protect him.’ I knew that Jaja meant from Papa, but I didnot say anything about protecting the baby”. This foreshadows that Papa will later kill the baby, as well as his known abuse towards the family.

Read more

206

A Subaltern Perspectives in The Novel Of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Purple Hibiscus

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

This paper introduces power relations in Purple Hibiscus to investigate how female characters’ fight with their subjugation and the oppression growing from patriarchy. The images of women and their position in the universe of the novel and the oppressive gender structures which push women to the margins as well as how women came back to the center is examined. Eve Ensler states that:

Women are excluded from certain crucial economic and political activities and their roles as wives and mothers are associated with fewer powers and prerogatives than male roles. African women operate within the paradigm of dominated-periphery defined groups and so they are actively engaged in production of oppositional ideologies to counter the overriding patriarchal principles.

In the Purple Hibiscus Eugene fits the descriptions of a Gothic patriarch and Beatrice, Kambili and Jaja the suffering subjects of his authority. These victims of paternal patriarchal authority do everything possible to claim their free space in the oppressive circumstances occasioned by Eugene. No wonder male religious leaders so often say that humans were born in sin because we were born to female creatures. Only by obeying the rules of the patriarchy can we be reborn through men. No wonder priests and ministers in skirts sprinkle imitation birth fluid over our heads, give us new names, and promise rebirth into everlasting life.

The character of Beatrice and Ifeoma in Purple Hibiscus is a case of women asserting their positions in their societies and challenging patriarchy with its several manifestations. The system of oppression draws much of its strength from the accepting of its victims, their image and get paralyzed by a sense of helplessness. Adichie’s story explores numerous societal structures through which women are oppressed. She identifies domestic violence, religion, traditions, family life, civil unrest, extended families, polygamy, desire for sons, racism, colonialism and neocolonialism as being responsible for unequal gender relations forming the basis of exploitation of women and domestic violence that characterize Eugene’s household in Purple Hibiscus.

Through the character of Beatrice this novel explores how wives are subjugated by their husbands. Beatrice’s world is totally controlled by her husband. She is not allowed to take any choice and express feelings of her own. In one situation that confirms that when the family visits Father Benedict after a Sunday service. Papa’s word is final and he disregards the wife’s feelings and thus Beatrice hangs at the limits of Papa’s world. Being sick she is compelled to go to the priest’s house. At home, she has no choice over what colour of curtains to hang on the windows of the house. The indecision depicted here confirms the marginal position Beatrice occupies in relation to her husband. Beatrice struggles from the boundary and rises as the pro-active character and who pulls down patriarchy by poisoning the husband. This way moves to the center where she is allowed to make her own choices. The suffering that Beatrice goes through can only be free by removing Eugene out of her space and so the writer’s act is the final act of dragging down patriarchy and its violence. It does not mean destroying men since Beatrice desires to have a loving man in her life. Eugene often fought with his wife and Kambili is always upset when her parents fight over everything.

Eugene’s attack of his pregnant wife shows the brutal behavior of the evil face of patriarchy but also the insensitivity of such practice to basic principles of humanity. Mama’s act of raising her hands while being flogged together with her children symbolizes surrender and helplessness that made women once exposed to male violence. The author condemns Mama’s failure to speak about her situation since the silence regained by Eugene results to several misfortunes that would have been averted. Although Mama is abused and unloved by her cruel husband, she is subservient to her husband as expected in her marriage.

The opening lines of Purple Hibiscus signal a threat to continued co-existence of the family members because of lack of free space. The home is in turmoil and things are about to fall apart. It means the center symbolized by the male domination cannot hold anymore and further suggests that several centers of authority are necessary. It is in the other centres where the characters living in Eugene’s family enjoy their own freedom. Kambili is concerned about every member of the family but does not speak her mind because of lack of freedom. Mama informs the daughter that she will not replace the figurines and Kambili realizes that, “when Papa threw the missal at Jaja it was not just the figurines that came tumbling down, it was everything” (15). The word “Everything” implies even the authority that Papa has taken over his family. Mama’s refusal to replace the figurines suggests a need to live without the usual patriarchal control occasioned by Eugene. Eugene’s family is housed in a closed compound where dealing with the outside world is completely avoided. There are high walls with electric wires so that nothing enters inside the compound or to go outside of it. This ensures that the violence that the family suffers is not known to the outside world. It also prevents new and laboratory ideas from filtering in. They are very much held in a controlled domestic space that they depend on Papa’s knowledge and ideas over everything. It can be expressed that patriarchy has always tried to control the domestic space and women cannot enter into the chance of entering into the public sphere symbolized by the Eugene’s family compound. Mama, a symbol of oppressed African women, suffers such suppression and oppression. She has no voice and does not talk to Papa. She is a dehumanized wife and suffers in solitary.

A considerable change in thinking and looking at the world has taken place because of the visit to Nsukka’s. Kambili is able to identify the high goals Papa sets for them contrary to Nsukka where Ifeoma allows the cousins to explore and scale their heights. Through the travelling motif Kambili discovers her true self and her desire for freedom is highlighted. Her cousins have a voice to speak their joys, aspirations, sorrows and to explain their world, which are the things Jaja and Kambili miss at Enugu. Silence in Eugene’s house is perverse but there is a lot of talk, laughter, singing and exchange at Aunty Ifeoma’s house. In super imposing the two environments Adichie advocates for upbringing like that of Ifeoma where girls are not discriminated from boys and domestic chores are shared equally regardless of gender. The home.

Adichie seems to suggest that negative patriarchy rears its ugly face in Africa in the modern era despite the progress made in different areas of human endeavor. It means that women can only be respected if they fulfill their biological duty of mothering. Mama fears Papa may marry other women who may give Papa more sons and displace her. For a woman to have security and a permanent position then she should have several children and more so boys. African women’s need to be disparaged or at least revised to give women a breathing space as hinted to by Adichie. Although Aunty Ifeoma is educated and enjoys more freedom than Beatrice, she is also held by her family such that she spends much of her time with the children: helping, correcting, punishing, encouraging and cooking. She is widowed and struggling as Papa-Nnukwu realizes “since the father of her children died, she has seen hard times” (65). Kambili notes that she behaves like a referee who has done a good job and admires to watch the players who in this case are her children: Amaka, Obiora and Chima. Adichie uses Ifeoma’s character to open women’s eyes to the realities of patriarchy and also to suggest alternative avenues to self-actualization. She stands against oppression when everyone else is silent. Through this character Adichie pronounces her convictions that the oppressed should constantly challenge their oppressor.

The identity of women is linked to their children and one realize that those women who are childless suffer the indignity of lacking mother-derived identity. The identity of mothers is crucial in getting business names. Such identification serves to marginalize those who are childless. Rarely have women been studied as daughters in literature since the identity of wives and mothers overshadow other identities. In Purple Hibiscus Ifeoma forms friendship with the sister-in-law Beatrice and attempts to pull her out of a violent marriage. Ifeoma is ready to take the children to Nsukka so that Beatrice can think independently and quit domestic abuse. It is on the same scale that women at the University of Nigeria-Nsukka are concerned about the management and the problems cause continual trouble to the institution and people like Phillipa make a choice out of the troubled waters. This movement out of Nsukka probably to America serves to expand the space for women to challenge domination. Ifeoma bonds well with those women she is working with and she is given information about the list of disloyal lecturers long before she is sacked. It is out of her closeness with the female students that they even announce to her their plan to marry. So she is strong on her achievement that shows her education power on her. Beatrice is close to Sisi and it is her who gets Mama the poison that kills Eugene. This is a case of a woman helping a colleague woman to surmount oppression. After Eugene’s death Sisi is married but spends a considerable amount of time instructing Okon the new family steward.

This serves to celebrate the freedom that mother and daughter enjoy after Papa’s death. The silence that grips this family can afford them some freedom that lets them breathe. Kambili supports the mother in her trying period of widowhood and can also be analyzed as a troupe of heralding female bonding. Kambili comes out as a character who exhibits strength before adversity and an inspiration for the much desired change. In Purple Hibiscus Aunty Ifeoma and Aunty Phillipa are educated and thus liberated. Ifeoma does not want to marry again after the death of her husband and when Papa Nnukwu informs her of his prayers for her to get a good man to marry her, Ifeoma disagrees because what she requires most is a promotion to a senior lecturer not and get married one more time to suffer. She is free from male influence and determined to enjoy her freedom. Ifeoma’s forthrightness and confident are as a result of the power of education. She is educated and aware when things are going wrong. Adichie uses her so that she can contrast her with the sister-in-law Beatrice who depends on her husband economically. Due to lack of proper education and a paying job, Beatrice suffers all the effects of patriarchal domination perpetuated by Eugene and the Igbo culture.

Ifeoma becomes strong with her education strength and she leads her life on her own without depending on others. She is liberated from the patriarchy and is able to give voices for the society, she is exiled but she does not stop her action. She continues to give voice for the voiceless and searches for a good paying job. She is strong and her achievement shows the power of education on her. Adichie portrays the miracle of education for women empowerment through projecting characters who are educated and others with less or no education so as to draw parallels and give some freedom to the educated ones. Educated women in the novel are able to escape male oppression unlike the uneducated ones. The educated women can voice against suppression, oppression and also towards male domination.

In this paper inequalities, restrictions, penalties and denials directed toward women in Adichie’s novels have been identified. It emerges that tradition, religion, marriage, motherhood and the desire for baby boys among other factors are to blame for the silencing of the African woman. Adichie strongly indicts those institutions and practices which perpetuate gender inequality and continue to marginalize women. The chapter also explores the different strategies Adichie adopts to accord women a voice in the face of the silencing structures. Women’s writing is taken and understood as a process of challenging the dominating powers and creating oppositional discourse so as to engender change. The way Adichie’s female characters struggle to end their oppression is an issue that has received special attention in this chapter. Speaking to traditions and cultures that are suppressive, strong female characters, education for women and female bonding are identified as the strategies that women and female writers utilize to fight oppression and exclusion. Although other African female writers explore the gender issues discussed in this chapter before, Adichie has unique voice in the sense that her works are cast in wider human oppression and not necessarily exploitation confined to sexuality and gender. Her approach to fighting oppression confirms that despite the struggles by women to assert themselves in a world dominated by men through the ways identified in this chapter the war against gender subordination in Africa is far from over.

Read more

99

The Theme of Finding True Self in Their Eyes Were Watching God And Purple Hibiscus

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

What truly defines an individual’s personality? Some might believe that your identity is defined by how you feel about yourself. Aristotle believed in something more concrete: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God, a fictional novel by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie Crawford was on a quest to find what it really meant to be her true self in which she traverses the treacherous terrain of her through three marriages. The same idea of character and actions is reflected by Eugene Achike in the fictional novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Several illuminating scenes throughout the two narratives prove one thing to be true – individuality is not a mere idea of yourself or your potential. Through the characterization of Janie and Eugene, the authors demonstrate that everyone is defined by their own actions, whether those actions are constructive or destructive.

Through her willingness to think apart from the majority, especially in choosing her third husband, Janie reveals her level of independence. After the death of her former and second husband Joe Starks, Janie is left with a choice of who she would marry if she would even marry again. As a woman of remarkable social status in Eatonville, she could of married whomever she liked. As a result, when Janie and Tea Cake make an appearance together at a town picnic, the town instantly starts to question why, “out of all the men she could get,” she was “fooling with somebody like Tea Cake” (Hurston, 110). Because Janie is willing to break the traditional norms of marrying in the same social class, she shows that she is choosing to act according to her own individual preferences. Her actions also label her distinctiveness and differing perception; she is independent of the townspeople’s collective image of how a widow ought to act right after her husband passes. Janie explains to Pheoby, “Us is goin’ off somewhere and start all over in Tea Cake’s way” (Hurston, 114). “Goin’ off somewhere” implies that Janie is leaving the town for good to start a new life. At the same time, the act of going off somewhere is symbolic on another level. Janie is running away not only from the town, but also from the town’s way fixed mindset and way of thinking; this running away from what is considered the norm revisits once again Janie’s personality. This outside influence in regard to marriage is not the only time in the novel Janie endures it. Earlier, her Grandmother forced her hand in marrying Logan Killicks. The only difference is that this time she refuses to be molded by others’ expectations of her rather than blindly take orders which she makes clear when she declares, “Ah done lived Grandma’s way now Ah means tuh live mine” (Hurston, 114). Hurston includes Janie’s life choices similar to these to allow the reader greater insight into the main character’s personality. For Janie or anyone else, a person’s actions speak volumes about their attitude and character.

Eugene Achike is yet another example of patterns of action describing entire personality. For Papa, his negative actions overshadow the rest of his actions and inner thoughts and paint him as a cruel father to Kambili. When Kambili and Jaja get home from their first trip to Nsukka, Papa learns that Papa-Nnukwu, a heathen, was in the same vicinity with the children. With mixed emotions, Papa has Kambili sit in the bathtub while he pours scalding water on her feet, saying, “This is what you do to yourself when you walk into sin” (Hurston, 194). This frightening scene is the most violent punishment Papa has given so far to Kambili. Cruel, brutal, heartless, merciless, harsh, and inhumane – all character traits that are brought to light in this scene. The manner in which Papa burns Kambili’s feet is with the same emotion one would carry out a cold-blooded murder. His reasoning and judgment, which are seen through his actions, also depict his personality. Papa tells Kambili, “Everything I do for you, I do for your own good” because he actually believes giving Kambili hell will effectively save her from it (Hurston, 196). During this abusive act, Papa is not punishing Kambili because he’s furious. Rather, he simply decides this punishment is the justified consequence for staying in the same home as a heathen. It is important to note as well that Papa states, “Kambili, you are precious” before punishing her (Hurston, 194). Tears also streamed from his eyes as he poured the water from the kettle. Despite his words and emotions, actions speak louder and bring out more of his character. Earlier in the novel, Papa beats Mama and mistreats her to the point where she has a miscarriage. His cruel actions are repeated without the same sentiment. The author uses Papa’s characterization to show that actions speak louder than words. No matter how many times Papa expresses his love for his family or cries when harming them, his actions define him. In Papa’s case, cruelty describes the severity of Papa’s actions and himself as a person as well.

A person is defined by and is always the sum of their actions, as can be seen by the characterization of Janie and Eugene. Janie chose to think for herself. Every decision she made was according to her own standards and she thought apart from the crowd. No better quality describes her then independent. Eugene cared for his family very much. However, his harsh methods of punishment when he physically harmed those he loved highlighted nothing but cruelty. What Aristotle wrote over two thousand years ago has not lost a trace of relevance in today’s society. It’s up to us to turn inward and decide what kind of person we want to be, then let our behavior and attitude reflect that. Because ultimately, we are no better and no worse than the entirety of our actions.

Read more

346

Gender Roles in Purple Hibiscus

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Paper II: Purple Hibiscus

To what extent do male and female literary characters accurately reflect the role of men and women in society?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie uses dominance, control and power to accurately reflect the role of male literary characters and silence and oppression to reflect the role of female literary characters in society in Purple Hibiscus. Eugene Achike has power over his family, companies and newspaper which leads to a desire of abusive control which can be seen through his family relationships. Obiora and Jaja assume the role of dominance, like an older son who was lacking a father figure and cared about the well-being of his family would. Beatrice Achike nurtures her children and plans for them, regardless of the abuse and oppression she undergoes due to her husband.

Eugene Achike, referred to as Papa, is one of the main characters present in Purple Hibiscus. He is the father of Kambili, the narrator of the book. Papa is dedicated to his religious studies, as well as his snack companies and being the editor of the newspaper he works for. Kambili is talking about the new baby while characterizing her father when she says, “Kambili was written in bold letters on top of the white sheet of paper, just as Jaja was written on the schedule about Jaja’s desk in his room…Papa liked order.” (pg.23) Papa wanting order or control in the household is similar to the stereotypical role of men in a household. In many forms of literature, men are perceived as the “bread-winners.” According to dictionary.com, a bread-winner a person supporting a family with his or her earnings. This can be seen again when Kambili doesn’t place first in her class and her father takes her to school to look for Chinwe Jideze and points out the fact that she only has one head, the same advantages that Kambili has, so Chinwe should not do any better than Kambili. “’Why do you think I work so hard to give you and Jaja the best? You have to do something with all these privileges,’” (pg. 47) shows Papa believes the structural influence he puts in Kambili’s and Jaja’s life is beneficial, since when he was growing up he didn’t have these privileges of a private Christian school or transportation from a personal driver.

Another example of how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s characters reflect gender roles in society is the relationship between Obiora and Aunty Ifeoma. Similar to the controlling, bread-winner role Papa has on his family, it is a western cliché that if the father is missing from the family, the oldest son will assume that role. On page 74, it is revealed that Amaka’s, Obiora’s and Chiaku’s father got into a car accident, and that was the reason he was not present in their lives. When Kambili and Jaja are visiting Nsukka, Obiora tells Amaka to stop being mean to Kambili, siphons fuel for Aunty Ifeoma’s car and slaughters chickens for his family. This shows dominance and responsibility within Obiora, where he assumes a role within his family, something that Jaja wishes he had. Towards the end of the story, after Papa dies and Mama is broken, Jaja says “I should have taken care of Mama. Look how Obiora balances Aunty Ifeoma’s family on his head, and I am older than he is. I should have taken care of Mama.” (pg. 289) Jaja feels this need of dominance like his father, earlier in the book when he kneels next to his mother on Palm Sunday and helps her pick up the broken ballet figurines and tells her to be careful, like a caring husband might do for his wife. This also can be seen when Jaja takes the blame for his father’s death.

A female character which accurately reflects the role of women in society is Beatrice Achike, also known as Mama. Not all married women are sheltered and silent, and subjects of marital abuse, however the majority of mothers are caring and want what is best for their children. This can be seen many times from Kambili’s perspective. Mama’s characterization begins when Kambili is in her room studying and Mama brings her uniforms in so that they wouldn’t get rained on. Mama and Kambili share a moment, like any other relationship between a mother and daughter, when Mama tells Kambili she is pregnant. When Kambili and Jaja come home from Nsukka, and their father pours boiling water on their feet for walking into sin, Mama is there to comfort Kambili afterwards. “Tears were running down her face…She mixed salt with cold water and gently plastered the gritty mixture onto my feet. She helped me out of the tub, made to carry me on her back to my room, but I shook my head…” (pg. 195) This shows Mama assuming the role of a woman, of a mother, the role to be caring and protective of her children. Finally, Mama chooses to protect her children by killing the man who oppressed and abused them since they were little. “’I started putting poison in his tea before I came to Nsukka…,’” (pg. 290) Mama tells her questioning children. We can assume that she did this because of the harm he was inflicting on her and her children.

Throughout Purple Hibiscus, the gender roles between the characters stays constant. One is able to see the inborn struggles between each character and the problems that are caused because of each struggle. The oppression of the Mama and the care Mama gives to her children accurately represents female roles in society. The power struggle in Papa is also extremely evident with the way he treats everyone in the family. Obiora’s need to care for his family when his father is not present also shows a role of a young man in society. Adichie does a great job representing each facet in the roles of each character.

Read more

517

The Symbolism of Nature in Purple Hibiscus

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus explores the life of a wealthy Nigerian family with the protagonist Kambili, a young girl who tries to find her own voice in an oppressive society and home. Throughout the novel, the author uses a number of symbols to convey her ideas. In Purple Hibiscus, Adichie uses symbolism through nature and pathetic fallacy to reflect the development of the story and character’s growth.

During many occasions in the novel, the red and purple hibiscuses play an important role in the eyes of Kambili and Jaja, but also in the novel as a whole. The purple flowers have been described as “rare, fragrant with the undertones of freedom” (16), which also conveys their importance and uniqueness. Before “things started to fall apart” (3), the hibiscuses were still a vibrant red color, showing that they have not fully bloomed and that freedom has not yet settled in the family. Red, a color with a symbolism of anger and violence, haunts Kambili through her childhood as she has to clean her mother’s blood after an abusive episode. Kambili cannot focus after a long period of time afterwards and can only read with “the black typed blurred, the letters swimming into one another, and then changed to a bright red, the red of fresh blood” (35). As for the red hibiscuses, they symbolize the family’s oppression, since the only way Papa keeps his wife and children in control is through his violence. The children only see the purple hibiscuses when they visit Aunty Ifeoma in Nsukka, and they are surprised since “[they] didn’t know there were [any]” (128). Not only did Kambili and Jaja discover a new flower when they arrive to Nsukka, they also find out what true freedom is. By seeing how Aunty Ifeoma lives with Amaka and Obiora, Jaja and Kambili notice that their lives are strict and controlled unlike their cousins’, who have the freedom to do whatever they like. To Jaja, the purple hibiscuses signify hope that something new can exist, such as a new life without Papa’s rules. He takes a stalk of the flowers with him back home and plants them in the garden in hope that freedom will soon come through. Adichie foreshadows Jaja’s rebellious decisions from the moment he notices the rare flowers to him refusing to go to communion, which leads to Papa throwing a “missal across the room” (3). From that point on, the flowers “started to push out sleepy buds,” even though most were “still on the red ones” (9). As the purple hibiscuses start bloom, so does Jaja’s rebellion towards Papa, which reveals the way the flowers symbolize Jaja’s growth as a character.

Throughout the novel, Kambili’s attitude towards nature changes as she matures, but it also reflects her inner turmoil and joy. Whilst staying in Nsukka, Kambili discovers an earthworm “slithering in the bathtub” (232). Before taking her bath, she picked it up, and “threw it in the toilet” (233) without flushing it, even though she knew Obiora was fascinated by worms. Instead of dealing with the crawling insect, she decides to remove it. The earthworm symbolizes Kambili’s mood, in this case her turmoil, and demonstrates how she is uncertain of her feelings throughout the course of the novel and decides to put them aside instead of confronting them. Whilst getting her hair done, Kambili notices a snail in an open basket. She watched the creature as it was “crawling out, being thrown back in, and then crawling out [of the basket] again” (238), and realizes that she shares similarities to it. Kambili is also trapped inside her own type of basket – her father’s home- and crawls towards freedom just like the snail, but keeps getting pushed back in. She grows in strength and maturity with the love of Aunty Ifeoma and Father Amadi, who bring out the best of her. Later in the novel, she bathes once again, but this time leaves the earthworms alone. By coexisting with the worms and bathing with the “scent of the sky” (270), Kambili learns to love her surroundings and honor the natural world. Her joy gets revealed while she sings and bathes after being with Father Amadi, and it also reveals that she no longer depends on her haunting memories and has found her own voice despite her family’s oppression. Kambili grows into a more mature young girl, and this is demonstrated through symbolism of the snails and earthworms, and also how she finally finds her voice.

Adichie also plays with pathetic fallacy in Purple Hibiscus to symbolize different characters’ thoughts. After Palm Sunday, “howling winds came with an angry rain” (258) which uproot trees and make the satellite dish crash. The use of pathetic fallacy reflects the similarities between the weather and the atmosphere in the Achike’s household, right after the communion Jaja missed. Moreover, the “purple hibiscuses [were] about to bloom” (253) symbolize Jaja’s decisions on missing communion and becoming more free. The author also uses pathetic fallacy during Ade Cocker’s death, when “it rained heavily . . . [and there was] strange, furious rain” (206). The heavy rains symbolize the difficult and depressive state Papa goes through further in the novel due to his friend’s death. At the end of the novel, after Mama and Kambili visit Jaja in prison, the clouds are described “like dyed cotton wool [hanging] low” (307), which give them a sense of ambiguity, not knowing whether they are symbolized as hopeful or ominous. Furthermore, Adichie uses specific nature imagery to describe Kambili’s thoughts on her future. Kambili imagines that she will “plant new orange trees . . . and Jaja will plant purple hibiscuses, too” (306). Kambili still finds hope within her that Jaja will be out of jail soon, and that they will all go to Abba. The hope that Jaja will do so conveys that he brought freedom into his home by planting the purple hibiscuses, even though his own freedom was taken away from him.

By using pathetic fallacy, imagery and symbolism throughout the novel, Adichie develops the plot and characters’ growth. The red and purple hibiscuses symbolize the freedom versus oppression in the novel and how Jaja dealt with it. Kambili’s maturity, which is symbolized through nature, reflects her inner confusion and happiness about her life. The use of pathetic fallacy reveals different characters’ thoughts through the novel. Adichie reveals characters’ inner thoughts and actions by symbolizing them through nature.

Read more

269

Religion Issues in Purple Hibiscus

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Focal points are important components of life. Just as the earth revolves on an axis around the sun, so too does the Church calendar revolve around significant events, of which Palm Sunday is one. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie draws on this focus in her novel, Purple Hibiscus. Commencing at a Palm Sunday family dinner, the novel details the events that led to this point in time and concludes with the present – Palm Sunday. In doing so, Adichie uses the symbology of color and conflict to dramatic effect. The richness and relevance of the purples and reds combined with the ever-present religious theme of conflict exhibited through the Old and New Testaments.

Papa is a Catholic caught in the Old Testament. His view of the world is unbending: He would hold his eyes shut so hard that his face tightened into a grimace (4). In the eyes of those who know him he is a perfect model of Christianity, as Father Benedict usually referred to the pope, Papa, and Jesus in that order. He used Papa to illustrate the gospels (4). Papa; however, is not a Christian nor has he made a successful transition into the teachings of the New Testament. His behavior and the manner in which he treats his family are inconsistent with Christian ideals and create a false impression that only those closest to him can see.

The symbology associated with this story being told on Palm Sunday amplifies this religious contradiction. Palm Sunday is a key event in the New Testament and represents the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, [where] he greeted the people crowed around him (29). Ironically, this entry represents the start of his decline and eventual suffering and death, known as the passion; when they took him away (291). In reality; however, it is not Jesus who is subjected to the suffering of the passion but rather Jaja, who is the sacrificial lamb for this religious conflict. Just as Christ was without sin and paid for humanitys sins with his life, so too is Jajas innocence similarly treated.

The tragic ending of the Passion is therefore lived out with Jajas demise: an innocent person suffering for the actions of others. Unlike his father, Jaja has transitioned to the ideals and beliefs of the new testament and is therefore able to turn the other cheek in taking the blame for his fathers death; a father who himself was never able to understand true Christian ideals.

Jajas tragedy and suffering is further enhanced through the use of dramatic color. The title Purple Hibiscus is, in itself, significant. Purple is the traditional color of royalty. It is also the color within the church that denotes sadness and suffering at the time of lent. The uniqueness of a purple hibiscus is therefore symbolic of the particular suffering to which Jaja subjects himself.

At another level, purple is used to describe Beatrices swollen eye [that] was still the black-purple color of an overripe avocado (10-11), symbolizing the needles of pain and suffering (211). Purple, in the Christian church, is the liturgical color for the Season of Lent: the time when Jesus suffers on the cross. These needles of pain can be associated with the nails on the cross. However, purple can also have a noble, royal meaning one that is powerful: the purple plants had started to push out sleepy buds (9), they had begun to evolve into a more powerful state. Although not mentioned directly, Jaja the one who sacrifices himself in the end can be seen as having this nobility: establishing this power.

Red is also a prominent color in Purple Hibiscus originally symbolizing the blood of martyrs of the Church: Red was the color of Pentecost (28), recognition of the coming of Christ through tongues of fire, following his resurrection. It is also the color exclusively worn by Cardinals of the Church to denote their power and authority in the context of Christian beliefs. The mixture of this royal color with the imagery of blood is combined on Palm Sunday to foretell what is about to happen to Jesus. He is beaten, ridiculed, and put to death for something he did not do, in the same way that Beatrice is continually beaten to the stage where she commits a sin; a sin for which Jaja accepts responsibility even though it is something he did not do. Jesus died for all mankind. Jaja sacrifices his life for his family. The vibrant bushes of hibiscus reached out and touched one another as if they were exchanging their petals (9), exchanging trust, exchanging a sign of peace.

Adichie uses both religion and color to parallel her story, Purple Hibiscus, and the journey that the characters take. Set on Palm Sunday, it draws upon one of the most significant Christian festivals to highlight Jajas sacrifice; an innocent person condemned for the sins of others. But it also highlights the struggle of traditional Catholics who cannot move beyond the Old Testament, as seen with Papa. A deeply religious man, his religion blinds him to the fundamentals of Christian behavior. To create a more dramatic effect, however, Adichie blends this conflict with the rich sacred colors of royalty and suffering, namely purple and red. By doing this, she highlights the reverence associated with these colors as well as the pain and suffering they can bring. In its imagery, the novel is rich, unique and innocent. It is, in truth, a purple hibiscus.

Read more

244

Gender Roles Issues In Purple Hibiscus Novel

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Paper II: Purple Hibiscus

To what extent do male and female literary characters accurately reflect the role of men and women in society?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie uses dominance, control and power to accurately reflect the role of male literary characters and silence and oppression to reflect the role of female literary characters in society in Purple Hibiscus. Eugene Achike has power over his family, companies and newspaper which leads to a desire of abusive control which can be seen through his family relationships. Obiora and Jaja assume the role of dominance, like an older son who was lacking a father figure and cared about the well-being of his family would. Beatrice Achike nurtures her children and plans for them, regardless of the abuse and oppression she undergoes due to her husband.

Eugene Achike, referred to as Papa, is one of the main characters present in Purple Hibiscus. He is the father of Kambili, the narrator of the book. Papa is dedicated to his religious studies, as well as his snack companies and being the editor of the newspaper he works for. Kambili is talking about the new baby while characterizing her father when she says, “Kambili was written in bold letters on top of the white sheet of paper, just as Jaja was written on the schedule about Jaja’s desk in his room…Papa liked order.” (pg.23) Papa wanting order or control in the household is similar to the stereotypical role of men in a household. In many forms of literature, men are perceived as the “bread-winners.” According to dictionary.com, a bread-winner a person supporting a family with his or her earnings. This can be seen again when Kambili doesn’t place first in her class and her father takes her to school to look for Chinwe Jideze and points out the fact that she only has one head, the same advantages that Kambili has, so Chinwe should not do any better than Kambili. “’Why do you think I work so hard to give you and Jaja the best? You have to do something with all these privileges,’” (pg. 47) shows Papa believes the structural influence he puts in Kambili’s and Jaja’s life is beneficial, since when he was growing up he didn’t have these privileges of a private Christian school or transportation from a personal driver.

Another example of how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s characters reflect gender roles in society is the relationship between Obiora and Aunty Ifeoma. Similar to the controlling, bread-winner role Papa has on his family, it is a western cliché that if the father is missing from the family, the oldest son will assume that role. On page 74, it is revealed that Amaka’s, Obiora’s and Chiaku’s father got into a car accident, and that was the reason he was not present in their lives. When Kambili and Jaja are visiting Nsukka, Obiora tells Amaka to stop being mean to Kambili, siphons fuel for Aunty Ifeoma’s car and slaughters chickens for his family. This shows dominance and responsibility within Obiora, where he assumes a role within his family, something that Jaja wishes he had. Towards the end of the story, after Papa dies and Mama is broken, Jaja says “I should have taken care of Mama. Look how Obiora balances Aunty Ifeoma’s family on his head, and I am older than he is. I should have taken care of Mama.” (pg. 289) Jaja feels this need of dominance like his father, earlier in the book when he kneels next to his mother on Palm Sunday and helps her pick up the broken ballet figurines and tells her to be careful, like a caring husband might do for his wife. This also can be seen when Jaja takes the blame for his father’s death.

A female character which accurately reflects the role of women in society is Beatrice Achike, also known as Mama. Not all married women are sheltered and silent, and subjects of marital abuse, however the majority of mothers are caring and want what is best for their children. This can be seen many times from Kambili’s perspective. Mama’s characterization begins when Kambili is in her room studying and Mama brings her uniforms in so that they wouldn’t get rained on. Mama and Kambili share a moment, like any other relationship between a mother and daughter, when Mama tells Kambili she is pregnant. When Kambili and Jaja come home from Nsukka, and their father pours boiling water on their feet for walking into sin, Mama is there to comfort Kambili afterwards. “Tears were running down her face…She mixed salt with cold water and gently plastered the gritty mixture onto my feet. She helped me out of the tub, made to carry me on her back to my room, but I shook my head…” (pg. 195) This shows Mama assuming the role of a woman, of a mother, the role to be caring and protective of her children. Finally, Mama chooses to protect her children by killing the man who oppressed and abused them since they were little. “’I started putting poison in his tea before I came to Nsukka…,’” (pg. 290) Mama tells her questioning children. We can assume that she did this because of the harm he was inflicting on her and her children.

Throughout Purple Hibiscus, the gender roles between the characters stays constant. One is able to see the inborn struggles between each character and the problems that are caused because of each struggle. The oppression of the Mama and the care Mama gives to her children accurately represents female roles in society. The power struggle in Papa is also extremely evident with the way he treats everyone in the family. Obiora’s need to care for his family when his father is not present also shows a role of a young man in society. Adichie does a great job representing each facet in the roles of each character.

Read more

486

Life of Kambili in Purple Hibiscus

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Explore How Kambili Shows a Search for Herself, Linking the Extract to Purple Hibiscus as a Whole

A search for self in my opinion is the idea of an individual discovering what he/she truly wants and discovering your true identity of what makes you individual, by building your own identity and choosing which paths to follow. For Kambili search for self is a journey that comes from being at her Aunties house in Nsukka, who’s way of life inspires Kambili and Jaja to rethink their own upbringing.

Kambili’s admiration for Father Amadi is at the centre of the passage and we discover first hand what Kambili is feeling, giving us a more reliable account of her thoughts. This is true through out the novel, Adichie uses the form and structure of an autobiography almost as Kambili is the narrator, allowing us to know truly her thoughts and feelings towards other characters, in this passage it is Father Amadi. Kambili shows a search for self as she is at the age where she is beginning to find members of the opposite sex attractive and due to her strict upbringing this is something she feels that is wrong as she shouldn’t feel, “I did not look down at his tank top on my lap” suggests she feels too guilty to even look at fathers Amadi’s tank top he has given to her.

The use of descriptive language from Kambili also shows how she is studying Father Amadi’s body in a lustful way, “Upper body bare, his shoulders were a broad square” tells us Kambili is looking closely at his body, as well as this quotation rhyming which to me suggests that Kambili is so love struck by Father Amadi she is speaking in rhyme. The use of simile’s enforces Kambili’s admiration for Father Amadi, “like a rooster in charge of all the neighbourhood hens” and “his voice was smoother than the lead singer’s on the tape”.

Kambili’s change in personality around Father Amadi is also prevalent in the passage as we see a distinct change in her personality prior to her trip to Nsukka. Kambili has always been a socially awkward girl who has trouble speaking to new people, or in front of large groups. An example of this is on page 48, “I opened my mouth but the words would not come out”, this is when Kambili is asked to recite the school pledge which she knows but her social anxiety restricts her from speaking. Father Amadi is able to bring Kambili out of her shell and have a conversation with her, she even feels comfortable enough to ask why he became a priest, which is complete contrast with her usual family meals where she or Jaja are not allowed to ask questions as they please. This change in confidence Kambili shows is a big step in her search for self I believe.

“I nodded although I could not remember” shows Kambili is almost so mesmerised by Father Amadi’s company that she nods instinctively just to agree with what he is talking about, this nodding shows a different personality trait to the nodding Kambili does as the music in the car is playing: “I nodded in time to the chorus”, this kind of nodding shows Kambili feeling comfortable enough to express herself, something that we see little of prior to this moment due to her harsh parental rule.

Another physical trait that changes and plays a huge role in Kambili’s search for self is she begins to smile and laugh. When at home with her family she never had any real reason to smile, however since visiting her Aunty Ifeoma, who is characterised many times for having a long distinctive laugh, Kambili begins to inherit her Aunties traits and becomes a happier person who isn’t afraid to show her emotions. “she wanted to smile but could not” is an example of how Kambili knows what she wants but her body physically wont let her do it, much like her inability to speak sometimes, on page 139 Father Amadi states that he hasn’t seen Kambili laugh or smile today, something that would be noticeable when surrounded by her positive, outgoing cousins.

However, Kambili overcomes this later in the passage when she does laugh and smile, “I laughed, it sounded strange”, this is the first time in the novel that Kambili laughs and is so unfamiliar to her that she isn’t sure if she has ever heard herself laugh. “I smiled, I smiled again”, Kambili is essentially smiling that she is smiling in this quote, telling us how much she likes this change in character that she is experiencing. Events like this may seem small but are significant to Kambili finding who she really is by surrounding herself with people she cares about.

Listing is used at the bottom of page 177 when Kambili is listing what she can see, this long list makes me think that Kambili is overwhelmed by Father Amadi and is so excited she doesn’t want to pause for breath, which again isn’t something we have seen in Kambili before, as she is being allowed to express herself more she is finding things that get her excited. Of course the only way we are able to know Kambili’s thoughts are because the novel is written from her perspective allowing us to know exactly what is going through her head at different moments.

Lastly the rhetorical question on page 180, “didn’t he know that I didn’t want him to leave, ever?” is showing the fact that Kambili is still too shy and unsure how to talk to Father Amadi so looks for advice from within herself, or even asking us, the reader to help her. This idea to me seems as though she still has a long way to go before she truly finds exactly who she is and is able to fulfil the potential that she clearly possesses.

Read more