LANGUAGE IN INDIA

Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 17:3 March 2017
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.
         C. Subburaman, Ph.D. (Economics)
         N. Nadaraja Pillai, Ph.D.
         Renuga Devi, Ph.D.
         Soibam Rebika Devi, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Assistant Managing Editor: Swarna Thirumalai, M.A.

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Ethnic Tensions and Political Turmoil: Postcolonial Reading of
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus

Partha Bhattcharjee
Priyanka Tripathi, Ph.D.



Abstract

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian writer and social activist has achieved her fame throughout the world for depicting the social, cultural and political matters in her novels and short fiction. With her literature she has drawn the new generation of readers to the African Literature. To name a few of her novels and short fiction that got critical acclaim worldwide for are – Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009). Purple Hibiscus typically explores the issues of ethnic tensions and political upheaval in Nigeria. The central character is Kambili Achike – the fifteen-year daughter in the house of the father figure Eugene. He is an orthodox Catholic figure in the Achike family. The text actually “de-mythifies” the concept of the father figure. Beatrice is her mother who is also under the torture of Eugene. Chukwuka Achike, named as “Jaja” by his family is Eugene’s brother and he is two years senior to Kambili. The development of the story is there when the two children came in touch with their Aunt Ifeoma. They have seen that Aunt Ifeoma, being a lecturer in The University of Nigeria, has raised her three children. She has also relocated them abroad for their better future. In this way Jaja and Kambili get their confidence to protest against whatever their father ordered. Adichie was showing here that the people in the household were doubly subjugated: first by the ‘authority of the family’ and second by ‘the governance’. Father Amadi is a young priest who is in touch with Aunty Ifeoma and her family. He has some idea of liberation. He is opposite to other white European priests in the country such as Eugene’s priest, Father Benedict who is orthodox about his religion. Adichie also presents another aspect here: on one hand she shows the readers the subdued female characters and on the other she shows the liberal minded woman like Aunt Ifeoma. Ultimately at the end, Papa is poisoned but Jaja takes the blame for his mother’s crime and spends almost three years in prison. The objective of this paper is to investigate how the political turmoil in Nigeria and the impact of religion have affected the Achike family in particular and Nigerian society in general.

Keywords: Nigeria, Catholicism, Ethnic tensions, Authority, Governance.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is the author of three novels, Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013) and a collection of short stories, The Thing around Your Neck (2009). She has also achieved numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2008). Not only is she famous for her notable works but also she has drawn her third generation readers of Africa with the depiction of the social, cultural and political matters in her novels and short fiction.


This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.


Partha Bhattcharjee
Research Scholar of English
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
IIT Patna
Patna 801103
Bihar
India
partha.phs16@iitp.ac.in

Priyanka Tripathi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
IIT Patna
Patna 801103
Bihar
India
priyankatripathi@iitp.ac.in

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