Purple Hibiscus

The Real Papa: Analyzing Purple Hibiscus 11th Grade

"Uncle Eugene is not a bad man, really. . . . People have problems, people make mistakes" (251). These words are spoken by Kambili, who is trying to explain that the violent Papa is not a “bad man,” but instead a person who has good qualities as well as a lot of flaws. Papa’s troubled past plays a role in why he acts the way that he does, yet does not justify his actions. In the novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Papa (Eugene) is perceived to be like a saint in the community, but in reality, to his family, he is abusive and cruel. This irony, as well as Papa’s abuse, characterizes him as the antagonist of the novel.

In public, Eugene is perceived to be a man of great faith and generosity. He is kind to the community and very generous. As a well-off businessman, Papa is able to donate a lot of money and resources, such as food and guidance, to the community. With all of the money Papa has donated, he has never bragged about his contributions because he believes that it would be wrong in the eyes of the lord for him to do so. On page 90, Eugene donates enough money to the church to remodel the entire building. After giving the donation he very humbly left: “‘Let’s go,’ Papa said, when the M.C. finally moved on to...

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