Purple Hibiscus | Study Guide

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

The novel is written from the first-person point of view, told from the perspective of Kambili.


The first three parts of Purple Hibiscus are written in the past tense. The final part, "A Different Silence," takes place in the novel's present and is narrated in the present tense.

About the Title

Flowering purple hibiscus bushes play a symbolic role in the novel, representing both the blossoming that is growing up and a way of living that embraces the new and experimental. The most common hibiscus flowers are red, orange, yellow, and white, but in the novel Aunty Ifeoma has purple hibiscus flowering in her garden. She explains that they are the result of a friend's biological experimentation. When Jaja and Kambili return home, they bring some purple hibiscus from Ifeoma's garden to plant in their own garden—without Papa's knowledge. This act shows that Aunty Ifeoma's progressive attitude has begun to take root in Jaja and Kambili.


This study guide for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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