Purple Hibiscus: Religious Attitudes

2041 Words Jun 8th, 2013 9 Pages
Religion is a very prominent theme in the “Purple Hibiscus”. The author, Adichie, uses a variety of characters to explore different ways of expressing one’s faith. She explores the ways in which three very different characters express their religion of the Catholic faith, as well as looking into the traditional Nigerian beliefs of Papa Nnukwu. By illustrating some very contrasting religious beliefs and methods of religious expression in her characters, she encourages readers to consider their own views on religion and helps them understand some valuable lessons on the subject.
Adichie uses Papa Nnukwu to teach readers that different people find spiritual pleasure in different religions, and helps the reader understand that beliefs
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He has invitations to eat in everybody’s houses” (p. 134). Unlike Father Benedict, Father Amadi is not a colonial product. He has the ability to combine the Western traditions of the church with Igbo praise songs, much to the distaste of Papa Eugene. He has managed to create a healthy balance between accepting his Nigerian culture while following a European religion - a very contemporary expression of his faith. Father Amadi becomes socially and spiritually attached to others, such as the young boys he plays football with. He tells Kambili, “I see Christ in their faces, in the boys faces” (p. 178). Kambili struggles to imagine a Godly figure in the faces of ordinary people – this just shows how Father Amadi chooses to see the good of God in others, and wants to use his religion to help others in need. It is clear in the novel that Father Amadi follows God’s word through love, compassion and care for others. His devotion to helping the troubled Kambili acts as an example of his caring nature. He speaks of an all-accepting and forgiving God, offering a huge contrast to Papa Eugene’s constant talk of a revengeful, punishing God, and he echoes the love of God in his everyday life. Adichie uses Father Amadi to show the reader a different kind of priest from the common stereotype; a kind of priest contrasting hugely to the very distant and formal Father Benedict. This could be a great eye-opener for many readers who may realise they themselves had had
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