Figurative Language In Purple Hibiscus

1258 Words6 Pages
The concept of having a voice, in the sense of being able to speak up for oneself and convey one’s own unique ideas, is truly a modern idea for the majority of people. Only a century ago did American society allow women to vote in elections, and many groups struggle with political and cultural representation to this day. The utmost importance of personal expression in society has only just begun to take root in worldwide culture. Many bildungsromans describe the journey of characters to find their voice, as many of these characters exist in oppressive environments where expression is either completely forbidden or excessively limited. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie follows this example in her novel Purple Hibiscus, in which the voices of Kambili…show more content…
As the head of the household, Papa subjugates his family to behave as he desires, usually with passive-aggressive threats of violence. Adichie riddles her novel with moments of horrific cruelty and abuse, ranging from beating Papa his wife to the point of miscarriage or brutally kicking his daughter into a coma (Adichie 32, 211). Due to this kind of maltreatment, the children, especially Kambili, only speak in ways they assume Papa would approve of, whether that be in the form of a simple, “Yes, Papa,” or a religious phrase that would please their father, like “God will deliver us” (34, 26). Even dinner consists of structured conversations, as Adichie makes known through Kambili’s visit to Aunty Ifeoma’s house, when the character remarks, “We always spoke with a purpose at home, especially at the table” (120). In short, although he is a morally revolting man, Papa’s character adds necessary conflict to the novel in regards to the ever important motif of silence. Adichie includes Papa’s character in Purple Hibiscus to address the idea of domestic abuse, and how this can psychologically destroy a child’s ability to communicate. More importantly than simply his abuse, Papa directs his violence on his family when they disobey him or speak out of turn, thus inhibiting their voice not only around him, but with the outside world as

    More about Figurative Language In Purple Hibiscus

      Open Document