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Copy of Purple Hibiscus
Transcript of Copy of Purple Hibiscus
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
So far, the novel has won the following awards:
Hurston-Wright Legacy Award 2004 (Best Debut Fiction Category
Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2005: Best First Book (Africa)
Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2005: Best First Book (overall)
Purple Hibiscus is the first novel by Nigerian author, Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie published in 2003.
1. Setting: Geography
4. Cultural Context
6. Author's biography
The novel is set in Enugu, a city in post-colonial Nigeria and is narrated by the main character, Kambili Achike.
Purple Hibiscus is set in Enugu, a city in post-colonial Nigeria. Nigeria is located in the Western part of Africa, very close to the equator. Enugu State is one of the states in the Eastern part of Nigeria. It takes up an area of approximately 7,161km squared and has a population of 3.2 million.
Nsukka, another town featured in the novel is also in Enugu State. This town is smaller than the capital which is Enugu city.
Starting in the 17th century, European traders began to establish coastal ports for trading with the local peoples. In the 19th century, Fulani leader Usman dan Fodio brought most of Northern Nigeria under the control of his empire and converted them to Islam.
In 1914, Nigeria became a British colony. It would stay a British colony until 1960, when it became an independent country. It has since been marked with military rule.
1. Setting: People
Type of Government:
English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani
1 October 1960 (from UK)
Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
National anthem or song:
Arise Oh Compatriots, Nigeria's Call Obey
Two hundred naira
Nigeria during the 1990s was ruled by a cycle of corrupt military coups.
These coups would overthrow each other time after time, one leader just as bad as the next.
They were not elected by the people and most of the people did not want them as their leaders.
They promised the people of Nigeria many things such as the country's return to civilian rule in 1992. A promise which they did not keep.
The country did not return to democracy until May 1999 but it stays a democracy to this day.
'Purple Hibiscus' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in postcolonial Nigeria, a country rocked by political instability and fierce economic difficulties.
The main character is Kambili, a fifteen year old member of a wealthy and well to do family lead by her devoutly Catholic father Eugene. Eugene is both a religious fanatic and violent figure in the Achike household, subjecting his wife Beatrice, Kambili and Jaja, her older brother, to beatings and psychological cruelty.
The story is told through Kambili's eyes and is essentially about the break down of the family unit and her struggle to be herself.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In conclusion, 'Purple Hibiscus' is a novel which has shown us an entirely different world. The political tyrants and strictly devout parents are not things that the majority of us are used to encountering on a daily basis.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie did a truly amazing job of bringing Nigerian life to the Irish midlands and opened our eyes to a completely different way of life.
by: Caoimhe, Hannah, Maria F, Maria McL & Chanelle
As the narrator of the novel, we see the world of the text through Kambili's eyes. Kambili starts the novel, aged fifteen, as a shy, inhibited, young girl. She lives under the unrealistic expectations of her religously intolerant and abusive father. As policial unrest in Nigeria grows, Kambili becomes emersed in her liberal aunts and boisterous cousins way of life.
Kambili's way of thinking is radically changed due to her new experiences, She learns to stand up to authority when necessary and that voicing her opinion is not to be frowned upon.
Jaja, Kambili's brother, is a character thats present throughout the novel. Dispite being two years older than Kambili he is quite childlike at the beginning of the novel and obeys his fathers unreasonable commands. However his character progresses during the novel and he realises, after both his sister and mother have been emitted to hospital due to their abusive father, that he must stand up against his father. He learns a lot from his cousin, Obiora who puts his family first and trys to protect them whenever possible,
At the end of the novel he takes the blame for his mothers crime, this shows he finally stands up and fullfills his role in the family.
Papa (Eugene Achike)
Kambili and Jaja's father is treated
with the respect of a god in their house.
He is a very wealthy and high up in
society and in his church. His father, Papa-Nnukwu raised him as a pagan, however then, as a teenager he volunteers in the local presbytery. The priests do not treat him well, he even recalls an event when he has boiling water poured on his hands. His time volunteering there has a huge impact on his morals and shapes the rest of his life. He disowns his father because he refuses to change his religion. Papa-Nnukwu mentions this, 'many times I will not have enough to eat and my son is handing food to strangers'. His image to the outside world is very different to how he behaves at home. At the beginning of the novel his children hang on his every word. Kambili is obsessed with pleasing him in school and in general as is Jaja. He works as the editor of 'The Standard', a magazine that stands against the unjust Government. He is a complex character and has many contradicting characteristics.
DOB: 15 September 1977
Place of birth:Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a Masters degree in African Studies from Yale.
Before she was 21, she published a play and a collection of short stories but it wasn't until 2003 that she released her first novel 'Purple Hibiscus'.
One of the major reasons this book works so well is due to the intriguing characters. Adichie makes each of her characters so life like, shaping their personalities and letting us get to know them. For example, we have a vivid picture of Aunty Ifmeoa, just and fair but bubbly and outspoken also. We are shown there is always more than one side to her characters from the Father Eugene who loves his children but disciplines them so severely they do not know how to laugh or show their emotions.
These are the coups mentioned in our studied novel 'Purple Hibiscus'.
A key period in the novel is the time Kambili and Jaja spend in their Aunty Ifeoma's house.
They are sent there by Eugene when there are problems with his business empire.
This household offers a new experience for the pair.
Kambili and Jaja can express themselves in a happy, liberal enviroment.
Also, Kambili falls in love with a young priest, Father Amadi.
Ultimately, a critical mass is reached in terms of the lives of the pair and the existence of their family as it once was.
Unable to cope with Eugene's continual violence which lead her to have multiple miscarriages, Beatrice poisons him.
This is hidden in the novel as we are led to believe that Eugene has allergies while really he is slowly being poisoned.
Jaja takes the blame for the crime and ends up in prison.
In the meantime, Aunty Ifeoma and her family go to America to live after she is unfairly dismissed from her job as lecturer at the university.
The novel ends almost three years after these events, on a slightly optimistic note.
Kambili has become a young woman of eighteen, more confident than before while her brother Jaja is about to be released from prison, hardened but not broken by his experience there.
Beatrice, having deteriorated psychologically to great degree, shows small signs of improvement.
In essence, a better future is possible for them all, though exactly what it might involve is an open question.
Role of Religion
There is a contrast between Father Benedict and Father Amadi. Father Benedict is a white man from England who conducts his masses according to European custom. Papa adheres to Father Benedict’s style, banishing every trace of his own Nigerian heritage. Papa uses his faith to justify abusing his children. Religion alone is not to blame. Papa represents the wave of fundamentalism in Nigeria that corrupts faith.
Father Amadi, on the other hand, is an African priest who blends Catholicism with Igbo traditions. Father Amadi is a modern African man who is culturally-conscious but influenced by the colonial history of his country. Religion, when wielded by someone gentle, can be a positive force, as it is in Kambili’s life.
Papa-Nnukwu is a traditionalist. He follows the rituals of his ancestors and believes in a paganistic model of religion. Though both his son and daughter converted to Catholicism, Papa-Nnukwu held on to his roots. When Kambili witnesses his morning ritual, she realizes that their faiths are not as different as they appear. Kambili’s faith extends beyond the boundaries of one religion. She revels in the beauty of nature, her family, her prayer, and the Bible. When she witnesses the miracle at Aokpe, Kambili’s devotion is confirmed. Aunty Ifeoma agrees that God was present even though she did not see the apparition.
Role of women
Roles of men and women are clearly set out within this novel.Men must go out and earn a living to provide for their family, while women must stay home and bear and then rear the children.
In the sexist and patriarchal society seen in this book, Adichie projects womanhood in a positive light. She upholds female potentialities which the patriarchal structure has repressed.
She also makes role models out of her female protagonists. Women’s impassioned struggles to free themselves from the shackles of male brutality and dominance are what hold us spellbound. Adichie conveys women’s determination to survive in the face of violence, senseless brutality and ceaseless threats to their lives and property. Through her main characters, Adichie reveals how the physical, psychological and mental
abuse of women can have negative effects on their well-being
The individualistic nature of faith is explored in Purple Hibiscus. Kambili tempers her devotion with a reverence for her ancestors. Jaja and Amaka end up rejecting their faith because it is linked to Papa and colonialism, respectively.