Reflections on Why Papa Didn’t Come of Age in 'Purple Hibiscus'

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King and queens in the past have made the mistake of abusing their power. King George III Abused his power. He prevented the British government from making judicial decisions. He took complete control over Brittan. This resulted in the USA being founded. In the book ‘Purple Hibiscus’ Papa gets the opportunity many times and takes advantage of his power. He uses his power to take advantage of Mama the same way throughout the book. In ‘Purple Hibiscus’ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shows Papa’s lack of change throughout the book by making Papa abuse Kambili and Mama, making him a man of power and also by making him act like a God.

Papa abuses his power by abusing Mama and Kambili. He uses it to set unreal expectations for his kids and his wife. After Kambili Gets 2nd in your class, Papa goes to Kambili’s class. Kambili describes Papa and his actions at the school: “Papa changed his accent when he spoke, sounding British, just as he did when he spoke to Father Benedict. He was gracious, in the eager to please way that he always assumed with the religious, especially with the white religious” (Adichie, 46). By how Kambili describes papa, he seems like he wants to impress people. He seems like a perfect person from the outside. On the outside, he seems like a feather, but he is a rock on the inside. He has a string tied to him and he brings others down. He can’t be stopped from sinking. He seems like he wants to be a feather in the community. He changes his voice to make himself seem impressive. He wants to have the narrative of being a respectable man. He thinks he can get away with anything and this is why he needs this narrative to seem true. If people knew what was happening behind closed doors, they wouldn’t think the same way they do about Papa.

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Papa is strictly Catholic and uses that as his excuse for everything. He uses this to set unreal expectations for his kids. Papa will not let the kids into the same building as Papa Nnukwu. Aunty Ifeoma talks about papa by saying this: “But you know Eugene quarrels with the truths that he does not like… Eugene has to stop doing God’s job. God is big enough to do his own job. If God will judge our father for choosing to follow the way of our ancestors, then let God do the judging, not Eugene” (Adichie, 95). From what Aunty Ifeoma Says, Papa is seen as a man of power. He is shown as a king. In reality, he might be corrupt but the people that bow down to him can’t see through him. They see one picture unlike the loved ones of papa. Aunty Ifeoma sees the abuse and can tell that it is bad and getting worse, but the people of the town don’t see it. He sets way too many standards for his kids and most of them are impossible.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shows Papa as a man of power. He acts like he is God throughout the book. He worships the catholic religion and uses it as an excuse for everything. While the kids are in Nsukka, Papa learns that Papa Nnukwu is staying there. Papa immediately leaves to go pick them up and finds out that Papa Nnukwu is dead. The first thing he says is that Papa Nnukwu was not a Christian when he died: “did you call a priest to give him an extreme unction… I cannot participate in a Pagan funeral, but we can discuss with a parish priest so we can have a Catholic funeral” (Adichie 188). In this quote Adichie makes papa have crazy goals. His excuse for everything is that he is doing it for God. In this quote, instead of caring about his father, he cares more about if he was converted to Catholicism or not. It just shows how little he comes of age in this book. He thinks he has given his life to the lord, but he acts like he is God. He acts like this throughout the entire book. This shows him not coming of age.

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Reflections on Why Papa Didn’t Come of Age in ‘Purple Hibiscus’. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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