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Achike Family In 'Purple Hibiscus' By Chimamanda Adichie

Decent Essays
An ironic tale of a dysfunctional house; the Achike family, despite riches, faith, and social status, silently lives under the tyranny of a patriarch. An atmosphere that indoctrinates fear, oppression, and pain are the pillars to which forged the main protagonists in Chimamanda Adichie's book “Purple Hibiscus”. Taking place in Nigeria during the 1990s, Adichie portrays a nation plagued by political instability, poverty, and cultural scars left from the era of colonialism. The book follows the experiences of Kambili, daughter of a well respected family from which throughout the story gives insight into the relationships involved between her brother Jaja, Mama and other characters. Amongst those relationships is with Eugene Achike, her…show more content…
Such abuse can profoundly impact one's experience in the long term. For instance, Kambli's character throughout the story exemplifies this. In a scene describing the “love sip” Papa gives Kambili and Jaja a cup of very hot tea to drink, Kambili gets her tongue burned and describes it as “[t]he tea was always too hot, always burned my tongue, and if lunch was something peppery, my raw tongue suffered. But it didn’t matter, because I knew that when the tea burned my tongue, it burned Papa’s love into me.” (8). When she drank the hot tea, Kambili essentially accepts the brutal love her father provides and interprets in a way to view such behavior as beneficial. This behavior is an accumulation of the abuse Papa Eugene has administered his family in instances such as: severely punishing Jaja for religious violations, to beating his wife, and to Kambili herself. Moreover, Kambili’s character has become socially conditioned to view abuse as normal, which is contrasting to the normal point of view. This was the mindset Kambili maintained for most of her youth, learning to fear and obey her father, thus, explaining why her social behavior at school along with how she interacts with other characters outside of the home. In essence, Eugene’s treatment of his family at home demonstrates how societal conditions at home shapes the human experience of Kambili and her family. The human experience is not a narrow adventure constantly under the power of a dominant
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