Patriarchy In Adichie's Purple Hibiscus

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines “patriarchy” as “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.” This system of power is clearly evident in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, as published in 2013 and the author uses the character of Eugene and references to the Catholic Church and Nigerian government to depict the effect of the patriarchy (Stobie, 2010). However, in this essay the writer will prove that Adichie also uses the seemingly weak character of Beatrice to comment on the maniacal hold the misuse of patriarchal power can have on victims. The writer will primarily use characterisation to analyse the text and to show that Beatrice is a subordinate and submitting character, trapped by…show more content…
When Beatrice visits Aunty Ifeoma (pages 247 to 251) she says that her mother climbs out of a “yellow unsteady-looking taxi” which can be interpreted as a transferral of Kambili’s views of her mother (i.e. unsteady) onto the taxi. She describes her mother as follows: “She walked slowly, holding onto her wrapper that seemed so loose it would slip of her waist any minute. Her blouse did not look ironed,” (Adichie, 2013). This is a noteworthy description, since throughout the novel the reader can infer Kambili’s understanding of a situation from the way she describes her mother’s clothes. When she thus describes her mother as looking unkempt, the reader can infer that she does not view her mother’s state of mind as being particularly steady. On other occasions, Kambili’s descriptions of her mother also indicate that she thinks her mother is especially submitting, such as when Beatrice ardently says “amen” when Eugene prays for her forgiveness and Kambili cannot understand why her mother needs any forgiveness (Adichie, 2013). It is thus evident through Kambili’s description of her, that Beatrice is not a strong character, most probably due to Eugene’s abuse of
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