Symbolism in Purple Hibiscus Essay

930 Words Apr 30th, 2013 4 Pages
Symbolism in Purple Hibiscus
The novel Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a story of a young girl , who tries to find her own voice and speak out against her violent oppressive father. The novel is set in post-post-colonial Nigeria, in a time in which the government was run by a military dictatorship. There are a number of symbols used to help develop ideas in the text; the three most important ones being purple and red hibiscuses and Mama’s figurines. The red hibiscuses are symbolic of the violence in Kambili’s life while the purple hibiscuses symbolise freedom, defiance and the freedom to speak out. The figurines are symbolic of Mama’s quiet character and of the violence in her home. These symbols are there to show the
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Purple is a colour that is often associated with royalty but also self-expression. This is important, as it is only through expressing oneself and speaking out against oppressors can freedom truly be achieved. When Kambili swas the three red roses at Aunty Ifemoa’s house, she t “Three long-stemmed roses, so piercingly red I wondered if they were plastic, were in the vase.”(114), the fact that Kambili questioned the authenticity of the three, really huge roses- wich would stand for problems and bloodshed- shows us that she do not even think about bloodshed in Nsukka.

The purple hibiscuses that grow at Aunty Ifeoma’s house in Nsukka are described as in the novel “rare, fragrant, with undertones of freedom”!!!!!. They are the most important symbols in the text (as can be seen from the novel’s title) as they represent acts of defiance and freedom to speak out The presence of these flowers!!!! “began to lift the silence” at home. Jaja’s hides the cuttings of the flowers from Nsukka in the fridge as he is afraid that Papa will confiscate them, therefore crushing his rebellion. The contrast between the purple and red hibiscuses symbolism is extremely effective in developing the theme of freedom vs. oppression. It is the love, warmth, laughter and free expression what they experience in Nsukka, home of the purple
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