2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Colonialism and Religion in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus
Katherine G. McWherter
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

British colonialism and Christianity in Nigeria have left behind a mixed legacy for the Igbo, as depicted in Adichie's novel Purple Hibiscus (2003). In particular, the religious tensions caused by Christianity's domination of traditional Nigerian religions are highlighted in the discord between Eugene and his traditional Igbo father Papa Nnukwu. Eugene's rejection of his father reflects the unsettling conflict between Christian rituals and indigenous religious practice. Eugene's strict adherence to the precepts of Catholicism and the cycle of abuse this obsession leads him to perpetuate, however, reveal only one major characters damaged psyche. Juxtaposed against Eugene's dogmatic religious observations is Amaka, the compassionate and moderate Igbo Christian priest. I will analyze the ways in which Eugene's violence towards his family is laced with love, an inability to reconcile his religious roots with his Catholicism, and a drive to control his post-colonial world.

Keywords: Adichie, Purple Hibiscus, religion, Igbo, Catholicism, post-colonialism, literature, Africa

African Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 15-5
Location: VH 1232
Time: 9:00

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