Religion And Beliefs In Purple Hibiscus

Purple Hibiscus depicts traditionalists as being marginalized by their beliefs and the impact of Western Colonization. The three characters Papa-Nnukwu, Papa Eugene and Father Amadi, show this. Papa-Nnukwu can be found in the traditionalists section of NIgeria. Papa (Kambili’s son and father of Papa-Nnukwu), an extremely devoted Catholic, ended all relationships with his father. Papa Nnukwu has chosen to believe in Christianity, and his son refuses to associate with him. It is also the children who are responsible for the marginalization Papa Nnukwu. Kambili, Jaja and Jaja can only spend 15 minutes at their grandfather’s home. Papa Eugene has banned him from even walking in his house. He also refuses to allow him to visit his grandchildren. Purple Hibiscus is full of drama as Papa Nnukwu and Papa Eugene debate their belief system. Papa Nnukwu had no son to support him, but his daughter was there for him. Aunty Ifeoma was persistent in trying to help her brother stop the devaluing of her father. She explained that the religion her father chose did not worship God but that it was different. Jaja, Kambili and their grandfather slept in the same house as them. Papa Eugene shows his hatred for traditionalists when he pours boiling water on his children. Yes, Papa’. Papa Eugene’s experience of colonization’s aftermath can be seen in his own father and in others, with the idea that they need to learn from their “wrongdoings” and avoid the “Heathens” because it is considered to be religious transgression. One example is the case of an elderly man, who supposedly grew-up with Eugene, entering the compound after hearing Eugene was coming to town. Papa Eugene begins screaming in panic and asks “What’s Anikwenwa doing here?” Is there an idol worshipper in my house?” You must leave my home.” Papa Nnukuwu ordered two men drag Anikwenwa into the compound. Papa’s friend started yelling words at Papa with “Ifukwa, gi.” You’re like a fly that follows a corpse to the grave blindly. Eugene is clearly a colonial product. He blindly follows the ideology of White men and marginalizes his people. This is evident from the simile. Eugene also did the same thing with his people’s language. Instead of using it like a normal person, Eugene prefers to use it to indicate something bad is occurring, whether it be a sinful act or not. The narrator reveals this many times, as Papa refers to Igbo when something is wrong. Kambili is caught by Papa allowing Kambili and his family to eat from a bowl with cereal just minutes before Eucharist. He asks in Igbo: “Has he asked you all for errands for his? Is the devil constructing a tent in your house? Shortly after asking these questions chaos ensues and Papa starts hitting Mama Kambili and Mama. Papa isn’t a fan of the Igbo language and, as such, chooses English to be the “language God speaks” or the civilized manner of speaking. We are told as readers when Papa recognizes that English has been chosen by the holy people. “Papa enjoyed it when the villagers tried to speak English with him. He thought it was very sensible. When he was in white religious groups like Sister Margaret and Father Benedict, he “Changed” his accent to sound British. These are just two examples of evidence that Papa Eugene was a Catholicism-and-traditionalist believer. Papa Eugene’s main opponent is Father Amadi, a priest that combines Igbo traditions and Catholicism. He believes religion and faith are more complicated than they seem. Father Amadi has a strong influence of Catholiscism. He is however open to the traditions of his home country. Amadi isn’t a wild force like Papa. Kambili played a crucial role in showing Papa Nnukuwu that his traditional beliefs weren’t as bad or different as Papa Eugene thought. The beliefs of traditionalists, as a group, are often disregarded. The conflict between traditionalist beliefs and colonial influence is a major problem for the group we are referring to (traditionalists). Papa-Nukwu is one of many Purple Hibiscus residents who are marginalized.


  • tenleylancaster

    Tenley Lancaster is a 34-year-old educational blogger and student. She enjoys writing about topics related to education, including but not limited to student motivation, learning styles, and effective study techniques. Tenley has also written for various websites and magazines, and is currently working on her first book. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.