purple hibiscus

purple hibiscus - Jennifer Clift Dr. Charles Lewis English...

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Jennifer Clift Dr. Charles Lewis English 1101 September 9, 2007 The Purple Hibiscus Within the first few pages of The Purple Hibiscus, Adichie is able to introduce major controversial themes that occur throughout her book including those of hypocrisy, religion, defiance in relation to gender, trauma and vulnerability, emotional suppression, and colonialism. Kambili’s (the narrator) family attends a local Catholic church that depicts the colonialism occurring in Nigeria. “Even though Father Benedict had been at St. Agnes for seven years, people still referred to him as ‘our new priest.’ Perhaps they would not have if he had not been white… Father Benedict had changed things in the parish, such as insisting that the Credo and kyrie be recited only in Latin; Igbo was not acceptable. Also, hand clapping was to be kept at a minimum.” Adichie, THE PURPLE HIBISCUS, 4. Kambili’s older brother Jaja commits an unthinkable act of radical defiance against the Catholic Church as well as his father. During church Jaja did not take communion. Before Papa lost his temper he asked Jaja why he refused it. Jaja gave the excuses that “the wafer gives me bad breath,” and “the priest keeps touching my mouth and it nauseates me.” Adichie, THE PURPLE HIBISCUS, 6. This act angered Papa because he is fanatically religious and forces his beliefs and morals on his children. As a result of his thinking that his family should be physically punished for their sins, Papa threw his heavy church missal with the intention of hitting Jaja, perfectly exhibiting Papa’s extreme religious hypocrisy as well as the deep trauma he causes to his family.
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Unlike most times, Papa was unsuccessful in harming his target and the missal didn’t hit Jaja; though it did break his mother’s sacred figurines. It was evident that Kambili, being very emotionally repressed by her father, wanted to comfort her brother and her mother at this time but was too vulnerable and not strong enough to stand up to and defy her father. Papa’s oppressive control chokes his family, condemning them to tremendous emotional suppression. They have always been forced into controlling any emotions going against Papa’s strict, almost inaccessible wishes. The vast degree of the family’s suppression really comes out during their visit to Aunty Ifeoma’s house because of the vast difference in the children’s behavior and attitudes, and the difference between Ifeoma and Mama. Kambili’s reaction to the family is total shock at the allowance of Aunty’s family unit to act according to their desires, speak what they want when they want, and not live according to a strict schedule. When Amaka cries freely Kambili’s thoughts are, “She had not learned the art of silent crying; she had not needed to.” Adichie, THE PURPLE HIBISCUS, 185. Aunty’s family and Father Amadi have even more outspoken reactions to the emotional suppression of Kambili and Jaja than they had about their own freedom. Amaka says, “Are you sure they’re not abnormal, mom?” Adichie, THE PURPLE HIBISCUS, 141.
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purple hibiscus - Jennifer Clift Dr. Charles Lewis English...

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