Stubbornness In Adichie's Purple Hibiscus

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Stubbornness can convey determination or intolerance, while aggressiveness can convey strength or lack of compassion. In either case, the answer changes based on one’s perspective. However, perspective is more than just a point of view; it influences a person’s decisions and actions, which might lead to unwelcome consequences. In Purple Hibiscus, an African novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the plot revolves around the conflict of diverse perspectives. The main characters, Kambili and Jaja, proceed to fight against their religious father, Papa, and his enforced beliefs surrounding Christianity. One illuminating incident, where Papa finds his children in possession of a “heathen” painting and destroys it, not only symbolizes the discovery of…show more content…
The prophet in Igbo culture announces that Ikemefuna should be sacrificed for the earth goddess. The men in the Umuofia clan, as a result, take Ikemefuna to the Evil Forest and perform the execution. An elder from the clan advises Okonkwo to not involve himself in this execution because Ikemefuna calls him “father.” Despite this, Okonkwo still joins the group to the Evil Forest. As the men walk toward the Evil Forest, their conversation reveals the reason for Okonkwo’s involvement: “the men of Umuofia talked and laughed about the locusts, about their women, and about some effeminate men who had refused to come with them” (Achebe 58). The group derides the people that are considered weak, including the men who did not get involved in the execution as well as women. This reveals that Okonkwo goes on the trip because he does not want to appear effeminate and be laughed at, which suggests he values his reputation greatly. Later in the scene, Okonkwo looks away when a man attacks Ikemefuna, but when Ikemefuna cries for help, Okonkwo slaughters him. This conveys Okonkwo’s internal struggle, which reveals the complexity of his character. Okonkwo is more than just a violent and cold-blooded character. He cannot bear to see the execution, therefore, he does care about Ikemefuna and shows sympathy. However, when Ikemefuna turns to him, Okonkwo cuts him down. Okonkwo believes showing his affection to Ikemefuna and hesitating to kill him conveys that he is woman-like and weak, someone who is manipulated by emotions and fears blood. In dread of ruining his reputation, Okonkwo uses violence to show his strength and his masculine
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