Chimanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus

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Setting the context

Nigerian writer Chimanda Ngozi Adichie published the novel Purple Hibiscus in 2003. She was born to an Igbo family in the city of Enugu, Nigeria and grew up in the university town of Nsukka even though her family’s ancestral village is in Abba. She makes use of these locations where she grew up in, to show what’s really happening in Africa, giving the African experience a platform that is not commonly displayed in the western context. She is able to tell the readers what is really happening by nature of her own experiences, adding credibility and making it easy for readers to relate. One gets a taste of the shades and nuances of contemporary Nigerian life: the rich diversity of its peoples and their traditions, their staple and snack foods, and the variety of religious beliefs.


Starting with a
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By granting this voice to a native character, the Nigerian narrator is also given an authority equal to the “white” narrator along with its commentary on humanity’s similarity: exposing universal human conditions, whether as “civilized” white men or as African natives.

The author first exposes colonial rule and the negative elements (corruption, oppression, etc.), through the narrative point-of-view of a native. It debunks the myth of the superior moral and cultural ground of the white people. Colonization used to be described as attempts to benefit the colonized country, but in Purple Hibiscus, it seems to bring about more harm than good.

The story is set in politically aggressive modern Nigeria, where corruption and religious fundamentalism grips Adichie’s native country. In a way, she is describing the political turmoil happening in Africa, post colonial rule. The novel deals with the politics of Nigeria, the corrupt military rule and bloody coups.

Religious fundamentalism and its

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