Things Fall Apart

Fathers and Sons in Purple Hibiscus and Things Fall Apart 11th Grade

Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart both emphasize the complexities of father-son relationships. The major theme of parental conflict is developed throughout the course of both texts and serves to illustrate the impact of Western imperialism on Igbo culture. While Adichie openly acknowledges that she was inspired by Achebe, a closer look at the nuanced differences between the two novels illuminates Adichie’s own voice. Okonkwo, the misogynistic character with a masculinity complex, is a man still scarred by his father’s pathetic reputation in Things Fall Apart. His father’s ill repute and lack of titles spur Okonkwo to pursue a better life in an attempt to dissociate himself from his father. On the other hand, Eugene, the antagonist and father figure in Purple Hibiscus, ostracizes his father on the basis of religious disagreement. Adichie uses the differences between Eugene’s and Okonkwo’s paternal conflicts to comment on the changes that Western colonialism has brought about in Nigeria.

Even though Achebe’s and Adichie’s works of realistic fiction share many similarities, the reasons for and methods by which Eugene and Okonkwo respond to paternal conflict differ, thus allowing Adichie to...

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