Saturday, July 12, 2014

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I would recommend that a person read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Acheba and follow it up with this novel, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie, which are two novels that are set in Nigeria and are written by Nigerian writers.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel that is set in the late 1800s early 1900s in eastern Nigeria. The novel does a great job of explaining the Igbo tribe and their traditions. It also does a great job of explaining what happened when the British started to bring Christianity to Nigeria. Purple Hibiscus is set during a time when quite a few people in Nigeria had converted to Christianity, about one hundred years after Things Fall Apart. This novel shows the struggle between the traditional and Christian beliefs in a Nigerian culture and shows what may have happened in Nigeria after many of the people adopted Christianity. I am not sure if this novel is meant to a sequel to Things Fall Apart, but it sure reads like one.

Chimamanda tells, Purple Hibiscus, from the perspective of Kambili Achike, a young girl who lives with her brother, father, and mother. Her father, Eugene Achike, is a strict Catholic and has adopted the Christian belief totally. His beliefs causes him to be quite severe with his children and his wife, and it causes him to turn his back on his father who was a traditionalist.

Kambili and her brother, Jaja, have a loving yet fearful relationship with their father. He punishes them severely if they were not top of their class and when they did things that went against his beliefs and Christian beliefs. Eventually, the father has a tragic ending that tremendously impacts his family.

Reading this novel I thought a lot about the idea that we MUST include diverse literature in our classrooms if we want a world where people are culturally sensitive. Things Fall Apart and Purple Hibiscus gives the reader insight into Nigeria in a manner that is both informative and captivating. We need more books like this to dispel myths that we may have about other cultures and to possibly create a culturally sensitive society.

This is the third book that I have read by Chimamanda, and her books should be read in classrooms around the world. The other two books that I have read by her are Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah.

Read Chimamanda's books and learn and grow!

Happy Saturday...It's Race Day!


Ericamargaret5 said...

I will try it out!

Jacqueline said...

Erika you should. This is a book that you will definitely enjoy teaching and growing from.

ArchivedProfile said...

This book was a traumatic experience for me. I can still vividly see those domestic violence scenes in my head.

Jacqueline said...

Shannon this is a great companion to Things Fall Apart, don't you think?

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