Voices Of Post Colonialism In Purple Hibiscus English Literature Essay

1304 words - 6 pages

To what extent is “Papa (Eugene) is a prime example and product of Post-colonialism”? Make reference to the whole of Purple Hibiscus and explore this at a political and cultural level.
Purple Hibiscus, is a post-colonial literary text written by third–generation Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie who would have seen the full affect of colonisation on Nigeria and its people. The book is arguably a book that fits under “post-colonial theory” as Adichie “attempts to articulate and even celebrate her cultural identity and reclaim it from the colonizers and post-colonial theory are pieces of literature that has taken colonies or their people as its subject matter"[endnoteRef:2]. Throughout, Purple Hibiscus there is political unrest and a cultural identity crisis, which is perfectly embodied by Papa (Eugene). He is a great enforcer of British ways (at a cultural and political level) upon his family and to a greater extent upon his community. He is particularly forceful with his family and if there is disobedience he resorts to violent means, however he does not see the error in his methods, rather Adichie shows it through different character’s perspective. In addition, the affects of colonisation on Papa is seen through different character’s perspective. [2: A-Level English Literature B. Critical anthology (2015)]
In Simon During’s Postmodernism he writes that “the post-colonial drive towards identity centres around language”[endnoteRef:3], therefore part of Papa’s identity and culture comes from the language that he uses when he interacts with others. English was one of the many languages left behind after the decolonization of Nigeria and is predominantly the language used by Nigerians up to this day. In the early chapters of the book Papa wants his children to “sound civilized in public, he told us; we had to speak English”. It appears that Papa looks down upon his children, but with deeper reading he actually looks down upon igbo, one of many native languages of Nigeria pre-colonization. He sees the language as barbaric and uncivilized, whilst English or other European languages are civilized or just simply better than the native languages. Through the imperative “had” Adichie further emphasizes that to Papa English is far superior to the native language. This is not a one off, as a similar situation occurs when Papa “changed his accent…sounding British”. In “sounding British” it is clear that Papa has adapted one aspect of his colonizers and the constant use of English in public and the enforcement of it upon his kids is open rejection of a simple, but major variable when discussing post-colonialism. [3: During S, Postmodernism or post-colonialism today (1987)]
Before colonialism, many Nigerians would have been of traditional religions. However, following the British occupation, the main religion became Christianity, with Islam later spreading to the north of the country. Christianity is the religion of the region where Purple Hibiscus is...

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