Carolina Day School

Honors Papers 2021-22

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Koon1 Louisa Koon Ms. Pyeatt Rhet and Comp 1 26 April 2021 Silence and Speech Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's highly praised novel, Purple Hibiscus, follows the story of fifteen-year old Kambili Achike as she begins to separate her beliefs from those of her father and gain her independence. Set in early modern Nigeria—a period plagued with government corruption and citizen uprisings—Kambili begins to understand the meaning of defiance and what it truly means to be free. This coming of age story, told through the eyes of a teenage girl, presents issues that are still present in today's society through the variety of motifs and symbols that are woven into the plot of Purple Hibiscus. Silence and speech are two of the most important motifs the author contrasts throughout the novel, both personally and politically, to highlight a recurring theme of freedom. In the Achike family, Papa's dominance controls every aspect of the family's everyday lives, often overpowering their own voices and beliefs. The concept of religion is brought up throughout the novel and plays a large role in Kambili's life, both physically and spiritually. Kambili and her brother, Jaja, are raised in a strict household with high expectations from their father. Early in the novel, the reader gathers that Papa is a very austere, traditional character to whom religion and public image are very important. His sister, Aunty Ifeoma, describes him as a "colonial product:" someone who has bought too much into the colonial mindset. Papa's

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