Purple HibiscusChimamanda Ngozi Aduchie
In this brilliant novel, Kambili is a very young Catholic girl who has been overpowered by his father’s rough behaviour. He beats her and Jaja, her brother, very badly. She is growing up in a very rich Nigerian family. They are strictly religious. She has been living in a fearful world, the fear of her father, and his violent punishments, which she justifies by saying to herself that her father wants the best for her. She knows that she shouldn’t commit sins otherwise her father will punish her for her sin, in order to not to do it again.
Kambili’s grandfather is a pagan. He worships his ancestors, and this is a cause for him and his son, Kambili’s father, to fall out and never visit each other.
This novel tells the story of three generations. One is Kambili’s grandfather who is not a Christian and follows his ancestor’s religion. He is a moderate person. He loves his children and grandchildren. He lives alone and his son- Kambili’s father- supports him financially. He prays for his children and rest of the family whenever he prays, and is kind to his grandchildren.
The second family in the novel is the story of Kambili’s family: her mum, dad and brother, Jaja. Her father is very aggressive towards them. For any small reason, he punishes them cruelly. He wants his kids not to make any mistake and be the best in everything. He tells them that God will punish them if they don’t do well, because He has given them everything they need to be successful! Kambili’s father is involved in politics and is a social reformist. He is on the opposition party. He is a very generous man and helps the poor when they are in need.
The third family are Kambili’s aunt. She is a university lecturer. They are a Catholic family too but very open minded and open to discussions with a broad understanding of different beliefs and customs. She is a lively woman who has lost her husband and lives with her three children. They are a low middle class family with enough income to live happily.
The book highlights the effect of education on religion and beliefs. It shows that narrow-mindedness eventually destroys one’s life, takes away the happiness, and throws one’s attention only on being careful of not committing any sins. It shows that being rigid in a religion make you tunnel visioned. It makes you to be cruel to people who you love and care for. Sometimes it goes too far until you hurt them physically and mentally without being aware of your doings. It shows that this might make a little different or a massive change in one’s behaviour or personality in surface, but it won’t become part of you. You will put it aside as soon as you have the opportunity. This reminds me of something that I have read somewhere, which says science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years!
It also emphasizes that wealth brings you happiness up to a certain level, after that if you get wealthier it won’t raise your happiness and satisfaction of your life.
The last issue that this book underlines is that you need education and religion together in a moderate way to make a success of your life. Albert Einstein says that, science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
“ Immensely powerful” The Times
“An intoxicating story that is at once distinctly feminine, African and universal” Observer