Purple Hibiscus

Contrasted Settings

The novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes the life of a teenage girl, Kambili, who is raised in Nigeria. In the novel, Adichie uses two main settings to effectively describe the themes of freedom, silence, and repression. The two settings that are used in the novel are Kambili’s hometown in Enugu and another small town, Nsukka, where Kambili’s aunt and cousins live. The contrasts between the settings are startling. In Enugu, Kambili, her brother, Jaja, and her mother all face oppression from Papa. Over there, the teenagers don’t know what freedom is, and everything they do is determined by Papa. However, in Nsukka, both Kambili and her brother finally find out what freedom truly is, and because of that, they find themselves.

The city of Enugu is a large cosmopolitan city devoted to government affairs and commerce. Kambili’s father, Eugene, is an important figure in Nigeria and dominates his home using harsh punishments and rigid guidelines. The house is filled with an oppressive silence that symbolizes the inability of the family to communicate with one another or to express themselves. Even during dinner, the family sits down and they either eat in silence or speak briefly in intense short bursts. They...

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