Gender Roles In Purple Hibiscus

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel, Purple Hibiscus, reflects her perspective on gender because she distinguishes characters like Mama and Aunty Ifeoma as women with contrasting viewpoints on ‘shrinking themselves’. Mama embodies society’s standard to belittle herself by desiring to return home after Papa abuses her. In Nsukka, Mama decides to travel back to Enugu even though she suffers a miscarriage due to Papa smashing a table on her womb. Aunty Ifeoma compares the twisted family chemistry to “a house [that] is on fire” because of the insensible violence that her “nwunye m” faces (Adichie 213). Ifeoma refers to Mama’s mistreatment as a house that is burning down to foreshadow the rising tension in the family. Mama believes that returning back home is reasonable because of the gender-based beliefs that Nigerian culture instills into her mind. Moreover, her acceptance of the physical and mental abuse is due to Papa’s dominance in the marriage. Mama’s silent, misguided disposition defines her as a victim of society’s expectation of women as well as domestic violence.…show more content…
After her children return, she rescues them from the wrath of Papa by poisoning his tea with witchcraft. Mama confesses her actions to Kambili and states that she began “putting poison in [Papa’s] tea” before she travelled to Nsukka (290). Mama decides to intoxicate her husband because of his superiority in the relationship and his ferocious impression on the family. She has no way to reason with Papa or express her feelings because Nigerian society views her as inferior. Likewise, the poison acts as a defense mechanism in which Mama acts cowardly in an attempt to stand up to her husband. Mama shows that the pressures of society define our actions and lead women to depreciate
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