What are the themes of Chimamanda Adichie's Purple Hibiscus?
One of the themes of the book is the hypocrisy of traditional religion. Kambili's father, Eugene, is a devout Catholic, but he abuses his family. At the beginning of the book, he flings his missal across the room when Kambili's brother, Jaja, does not receive communion. Eugene also beats his wife senselessly until she is "slung over his shoulder like the jute sacks of rice his factory workers bought in bulk" (page 33). Eugene's religion is the traditional, westernized form of Catholicism, and his church features a blond Virgin Mary (though Kambili and her family live in Nigeria).
Another theme of the book is the goodness and veracity of the more authentic Catholicism that Kambili's aunt, Ifeoma, and her family practice. This form of religion is about helping others and being charitable--and not necessarily about following every traditional rule. For example, their priest, the young...
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