Overview of Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie

1305 Words Jun 18th, 2018 6 Pages
Throughout the centuries, the roles of Nigerian women have continuously evolved. During the pre- colonial era, women in Nigerian tribes were not only child bearers and wives, but also free adults. They played critical roles in food preparation, weaving, pottery, and the economy. However, the impact of British rule in Nigeria made a significant shift from the pre-colonial to the post- colonial era. The influence of the Catholic Church, Western style education, patriarchal government and modern ways of making money took a major toll in a woman’s role in society. In Chimamanda Adichie’s novel, Purple Hibiscus, Mama Beatrice and Aunty Ifeoma are dynamic female foils who represent opposite sides of spectrum in post- colonial feminism. Mama …show more content…
In the terms of colonial European men, the dependency of men showed respect and increased their patriarchal power. In Purple Hibiscus, Mama Beatrice fully relies on Papa Eugene for her luxurious home, Mercedes Benz, and figurines. However, everything comes with a price; Mama is powerless and inferior to Papa. Mama Beatrice endures and is manipulated by Papa’s physical and mental abuse.
Colonial missionaries also introduced westernized schools. Colonial policies not only encouraged male dominance, but also Catholic traditions and influences. In Adichie’s novel, Papa Eugene, Mama Beatrice and Aunty Ifeoma all attended and received a Catholic education. Out of all the characters, Papa Eugene received the most influence. Papa Eugene’s abusive nature stems from his days as a student in a Catholic boarding school. Growing up, Papa was abused by the priests for his sins and wrongdoings. Influenced by his past in Catholic school, Papa did the same to his wife and children whenever they misbehaved and disobeyed his rules. Papa Eugene was stern and strictly ordered his family and has his wife and children behave submissively (Adichie). Papa’s impulse to control his wife and children and contradictory religious beliefs serves as a parallel to how British colonialized Nigeria. In 1945, Nigeria was ruled by policies of the British and Mama Beatrice’s family is dictated by the hands of Papa Eugene.
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