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EXPLORE HOW PAPA IS PRESENTED AND DEVELOPED IN THE NOVEL PURPLE HIBISCUS. REFER TO LANGUAGE DEVICES AND TECHNIQUES THAT THE AUTHOR USES TO PRESENT PAPA

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Introduction

08/11/2011 22:47 EXPLORE HOW PAPA IS PRESENTED AND DEVELOPED IN THE NOVEL ?PURPLE HIBISCUS?. REFER TO LANGUAGE DEVICES AND TECHNIQUES THAT THE AUTHOR USES TO PRESENT PAPA. Adichie the author of ?Purple Hibiscus? presents Papa through the narrative of his daughter Kambili, as a man of strange contrasts and contradictions. In the short opening section of the book called ?Breaking Gods ? Palm Sunday?, his violent uncontrolled nature is apparent in the very first sentence? ?Things started to fall apart at home when my brother Jaja did not go to communion and Papa flung his heavy missal across the room and broke the figurines on the etagere.? It is obvious that Papa was not used to being defied in his family. This is contrasted immediately by how people outside the family view Papa. We learn that father Benedict, the ?white? parish priest of St Agnes, ?usually referred to the pope, Papa and Jesus ? in that order?, that ?Amnesty World gave him a human rights award,? that he uses his newspaper the Standard to speak out for truth and freedom. Jaja?s defiance which Papa can do nothing about, seemed to Kambili, ?like Aunty Ifeomas experimental purple hibiscus; rare, fragrant with the undertones o freedom ?It has changed everything and ?things started to fall apart at home.? This makes us wonder, what was it like before? Why is Papa so violent and dictatorial in his home and yet so respected by people outside the family? ...read more.

Middle

She ?wanted to stay like that forever listening to his voice, to the important things he said. It was the same way I felt when he smiled, his face breaking open like a coconut with the brilliant white meat inside.? Pg 25 Once Kambili comes second in class, she says ?I knew Papa would not be proud? and that she felt ?stained with failure. When Papa addresses that situation he says ?Because God has given you much, he expects much from you. He expects perfection.? Pg 47. This ambiguous statement not only shows what God expects from Kambili, but actually shows that Papa expects perfection from his family and himself. It is his disappointment in himself, his guilt that leads him to abuse his wife and children not just physically, but also emotionally. Andrew Vachss a child protector says emotional abuse is unique as it is designed to make the victim feel guilty. It is actually Papa who is suffering from feelings of guilt and inadequacy and he is punishing his family for this. Papa like Ifeoma his sister was born into a traditional, poor Nigerian family but educated in a mission school where they both became Catholics. He finishes his education in Britain. Unlike Ifeoma however, Papa rejects his Nigerian background and culture, ?He hardly spoke Igbo, and although Jaja and I spoke it with Mama at home, he did not like us to speak it in public. We had to sound civilized in public, ... We had to speak English? pg 13. ...read more.

Conclusion

“Things started to fall apart at home when my brother Jaja did not go to communion and Papa flung his heavy missal cross the room and broke the figurines on the etagere.” The missal flung at the étagère, the shattered figurines and brittle air” in time, became reality and represented a dissembling and shattered family and things falling apart and it is Jaja’s defiance against Papa which Kambili (the narrator) states, “had never happened before;” that actually breaks the God (Papa.) The figurines and the glass etagier could also be said to represent the European influence Papa so admired. After the figurines break , everything breaks. Papa is quite ill, his face, “looked swollen,oily discouloured.” This may be because his wife is poisoning him as it is the only way she knows to protect her children from his abuse. The soldiers begin to sabotage Papa’s factories and they close down. After this Papa seems to give up, letting Jaja and Kambili go to Nsukka, to the African influence Papa despises and tried so hard to ‘protect’ them from. Finally Papa is murdered by Mama and Jaja takes the blame. Meanwhile , the military dictator dies. When Kambili hears of her fathers death, she is shocked. “He seemed immotal”. He was like one of her gods – and now he is broken. Adichie brilliantly observes the complex mindset of a man whose ashamed of all he is, trying to be better. At first he seems to be in perfect control of everything and everyone around him and then we watch how gradually he loses his control and the ‘God like one’ is shattered. ...read more.

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