Purple Hibiscus Essay

1704 words 7 pages
TOPIC 2: Analyse the development of Kambili in Purple Hibiscus as she moves from strict, fearful obedience to tentative defiance of her father. In your response account for her initial subservience and explain what factors contribute to her increasing maturity and independence.

During the novel “Purple Hibiscus”, we witness the transformation of Kambili Achike from a silenced, repressed and wary girl into a more confident, mature and happy young woman. This change is brought upon by significant characters in the story, who help show Kambili how joyous the world can be and how she also has a place within this joyous world. And through this Kambili finds a way to slowly crack through her father’s hold over her and come into her own.

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Another important role Father Amadi plays in helping Kambili mature is his presence makes Kambili more aware of her femininity and creates feelings within her that she has never felt, which she must make sense of and in the process mature. His focus on her allows her to do things which her father would never accept, like thinking about how she looks, getting her hair done or singing along to mixed tapes in a car. The compliments he gives her (“You have good legs for running. You should practise more.” p. 176) reverse some of the damage done by her father’s oppression and allow her to participate in new things.
It’s also through her love for him that she greatly matures into a young woman.

Although Papa Nnukwu and Kambili spend very little time together and don’t know each other very well, he also plays a great role in her maturity and the defiance of her father. Kambili’s first confrontational defiance of her father is when she refuses to let go of the painting of the “heathen” even after Papa starts beating her (p.210 – 211). She feels this great attachment to this painting because it is the only thing connecting her to her grandfather and because he has past will be the only thing to ever connect them. It helps fill the void of the relationship that never was between them; a relationship that Kambili desperately wants.
Before going to Nsukka, all Kambili knows about Papa Nnukwu is surrounded around the point of him being a “heathen”

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