By reading about a human experience of coming of age, the intended audience of adolescents and young adults can relate to Kambili. They experience very similar thoughts themselves and with the help of the techniques chosen by Adichie, the audience feels a connection between themselves and Kambili even if they are not in an abusive situation. ‘Purple Hibiscus’ begins with a narration of a silent Kambili with no independence or direct desire to think for herself. She prefers to share her thoughts and opinions through a verbal stream of consciousness.
Her father being a strict uthoritarian is the main contribution to Kambili’s frightened and quiet character. Adichie represents the silent and naive image of Kambili through first person narrative and internal monologue. By expressing everything through internal monologue, Kambili became physically unable to speak without being commanded to. “l cleared my throat, willed the words to come. I knew them, thought them. But they would not come. ” Internal monologue and first person narrative are also used by Adichie to convey Kambili’s new perspective on love as she matures and comes of age.
The reader learns the only love that Kambili seems to know and experience is the tough love performed by her father. Usually, Kambili received the love with some sort of pain inflicting, leading to a relationship with her father full of fear. This includes a daily activity of Kambili consuming what she described as a “love sip. ” Taking a sip of her father’s boiling tea, Kambili repulsively enjoys the tea burning her tongue because she believes it “burns Papa’s love into [her]. ” An unsettling moment for the reader, as they understand Kambili has been brainwashed into believing that love and pain are omplimentary.
Kambili choosing to keep her thoughts to herself is an affect of her fearful relationship with her father. It’s not until Kambili and her brother, Jaja go to Nsukka with her Aunty Ifeoma that she learns of a new perspective of love. By studying the structure and method of Aunty Ifeoma’s love towards her children, Kambili realizes there may be more, if not better ways to show love and gratitude. Aunty Ifeoma allows her children to speak their mind and respects Kambili’s grandfather’s cultural and traditional beliefs. For example, she encourages Kambili to go watch Papa
Nnukwu complete his morning rituals, to show her they are very similar to Kambili’s own religious culture. Aunty Ifeoma also allows her children to go to the store alone, help out with the meals, to argue with one another and to laugh whenever they feel the need to. “Laughter always rang out in Aunty Ifeoma’s house…. Arguments rose quickly and fell just as quickly. ” The audience understands Kambili’s shock to their behavior through Adichie’s technique of first person narrative. “l was observing a table where you could say anything at any time to anyone, where the air was free for you to breathe as you wished.
This parenting lifestyle and form of love is unlike Eugene’s who writes up daily schedules for Kambili and Jaja to live by and shuts out Papa Nnukwu, for he is a “heathen” and a sign of “godlessness. ” Adichie’s technique of internal monologue showed the audience Kambili’s transformation throughout her coming of age. She stopped expressing her feelings within her mind and began to speak aloud. It started off as a struggle. Kambili found herself “awkward, tongue tied” when it came to conversation, stuttering, experiencing coughing fits and occasionally blurting out. cleared my throat, willed the words to come. I knew them, thought them. But they would not come. ” Her first act of speaking up included a snarly comment made by her cousin Amaka, where her Aunty Ifeoma encouraged Kambili to “talk back to her. ” Kambili assertively replies, “You don’t have to shout Amaka… I don’t know how to do the orah leaves, but you can show me. ” This act of defiance against Amaka showed to Kambili that she can speak up for herself, therefore she can be independent. Kambili’s realization of this proves to the audience that this was an important change in her maturity.
From then on in Nsukka, Kambili began to help join in on completing housework and making meals with Aunty Ifeoma and Amaka without being asked. The first person narrative technique helps the audience to gain an inside perspective on Kambili’s adolescent mind. As Kambili comes to discover her voice and new levels of adulthood, the audience can recognize the transition due to her exposure of unusual thoughts that do not associate with the child Kambili they have come to know, but a young adult that they are beginning to become familiar with themselves.
It wasn’t until Father Amadi, a priest in Nsukka, hat Kambili was exposed to the emotions and thoughts of love towards a man. Father Amadi taught Kambili how to be independent and enjoy life. Her love for Father Amadi compromises Kambili’s thoughts towards her Papa as she feels divided. She loves her Papa dearly but her heart was aching of escape from him and their inner conflict. “l did want to talk to Papa, to hear his voice, to tell him what I had eaten and what I had prayed for so that he would approve… and yet, I did not want to talk to him; I wanted to leave with Father Amadi, or with Aunty Ifeoma, and never come back.
Learning to make own choices about love encouraged Kambili to gain self-confidence that she can make it own decisions and choose her own pathway in life. Kambili’s boost in self-esteem was also credited to her discovery of her voice after her first act of defiance in front of The audience reads through Kambili’s experience of coming of age throughout the entire novel and they can clearly see the changes within her character after maturing. By learning about speaking up and different types of love and gratitude, Kambili was able to expand her knowledge on life and the world for erself and become more independent.
Towards the end of the book, after Aunty Ifeoma’s family moves out of their flat, Kambili visits the new family by herself and asks them if she “could come in, although they looked at [her] strangely. ” To do something out of the ordinary such as turn up at a stranger’s new home is very unlike the old Kambili but the grown Kambili does not mind about what people think but cares about herself. The audience learns from Adichie’s messages portrayed through the human aspect of coming of age that you cannot rely on everybody else to choose for ou because in the end it is your life.
You choose your beliefs, your cultural rituals, your lifestyle, your lovers and your friends. Nevertheless, this can only be done if you have the voice to speak up. Growing up is a very difficult time, which everyone experiences in his or her lives. At some stage, you will have to cut people from your life in order to let others in. You will have to sacrifice and take risks. This is all apart of human experience. Adichie has successfully portrayed the human experience of growing up and coming of age and the audience can ffectively relate to their daily struggles of adolescence.
Adichie teaches the audience that it is important to believe in yourself and find your voice. Without the ability to stand up for yourself, you will never be truly happy. As your grow up, you will be exposed to different aspects of love and decision making. Your hardest decision will no longer be which ice cream flavor to choose but possibly your career pathway or the love of your life. Once you have conquered the ability of self-independence and decision making, you have earned the best privilege in life – freedom.