Aunty Ifeoma And Kambili In Purple Hibiscus

1083 Words5 Pages
PATRIARCHY IN PURPLE HIBISCUS Chanelle Lowe(19846789)
Purple Hibiscus is about fifteen- year- old Kambili and her coming of age story as she lives in fear of her father, a violent Catholic patriarch who, although is respected in the community, is repressive and extremely religious at home.
Kambili and Jaja are staying at their Aunty Ifeoma and Aunty Ifeoma has asked Kambili to help prepare orah leaves. Kambili unfortunately does not know how to prepare orah leaves, but Amaka shows her how to do it. A little while later, Father Amadi arrives. He greets everyone and when he shakes Kambili’s hand, he holds on to her hand a little while longer. Father Amadi tells Kambili that he is going to fetch her later to take her to the football stadium.
…show more content…
He sets up schedules for Kambili and Jaja and because of that Kambili never watches television, thus when Amaka asks Kambili why she does not watch television, Kambili does not voice her explanation which she so desperately wanted to. Instead she kept quiet, but Father Amadi noticed when he came to Aunty Ifeoma’s house that there is a lot going on inside Kambli’s head.
The fact that Kambili stayed silent when Amaka asked her about watching television, illustrates the prevalent presence of silence in the novel. The silence is not only a form of oppression in Purple Hibiscus, in the sense that Kambili’s silence can be attributed to her father’s abuse, but it also becomes a way of resistance.
This is very prominent when in the beginning of the novel Eugene throws the missal across the room, furious at Jaja’s disobedience, and breaks Mama’s figurines. Kambili says: “I meant to say I am sorry Papa broke your figurines, but the words that came out were, ‘I’m sorry your figurines broke Mama’” (Adichie, Purple Hibiscus,10). By doing this Kambili avoids implicating her father in his act of violence, but Kambili is still able to raise the subject of her father’s abusive behaviour. Eugene’s abuse not only cripples his family members’ bodies, but it also controls their tongues, yet Kambili masks the brutality of her father’s abuse with her words and deploys indirect, euphemistic tactics to describe
…show more content…
Therefore, on the one hand Eugene is presented as one who believes that everything can be controlled, but on the other hand Eugene falls prey to his own obsession with perfection.
Eugene’s subject hood is attached to a gendered colonial past which has affected his present. He was caught in a sexual act by a priest, who then punished him by putting his hands in boiling water, therefore as head of his household Eugene takes the responsibility of monitoring the purity and obedience of his wife and children.
Eugene is so obsessed with his family’s compliance to his religious ideals and views that he loses control of his emotions and imposes abuse and torture upon his wife and children at the slightest sign of disobedience. In the end Eugene’s patriarchal reign of terror is brought to an end when he is poisoned by his wife. The murder is not seen as a victory, but rather a sad necessity, otherwise the family would be living in terror of their father’s patriarchal rule for the rest of their
Open Document