Powerless In The Purple Hibiscus By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

1278 Words6 Pages
Is anyone ever really powerless? A miniscule ant wandering beneath man can easily be crushed in a second and have its life taken without being able to defend itself. Is that ant powerless? Yet, that same little ant crushed by man can hold up to five thousand times its body weight above their head, a goal which no man yet to accomplish on record. Does that make man weak? Does that make them inferior? Does that make them powerless? No one is ever powerless. In the novel The Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a constant motif that appears is power and the powerless. The book is taking place in Nigeria, and through the point of view of a girl named Kambili, 15, who goes through various harsh situations in her life and family. Her papa,…show more content…
Then there’s the eldest of the two children, Jaja-a seventeen year old rebellious soul, begins a quiet protest to Papa’s abuse at the entire family. But his protests were in vain, because he began too late, and shortly after Mama was driven crazy by the abuse, and afterwards kills Papa by poisoning his tea. In the ending of the book, Mama was approached by police, but Jaja takes responsibility for the crime and confesses to the murder before they even addressed it. Jaja was young, but he wasn’t powerless; he could’ve prevented that outcome. In many ways, Jaja is actually responsible for his father’s death, just slightly indirect, but responsible nevertheless. There are events that prove Jaja as the actual culprit instead of…show more content…
He never really “protected” the baby or her while she was pregnant with Papa’s child. Jaja talked about raising his fist and protecting the unborn child from Papa’s abuse, desperately trying to prevent a recurrence of unsettling events by not letting Papa abuse his mother into another miscarriage. But Jaja stood powerless when the time came. He said, “We will take care of the baby; we will protect him” (Adichie 23). Yet, he sat in his room and listened as his mother was beaten until she was covered in blood, and his father, his mother’s abuser, had to slump her over his shoulder like lumber and carry her off to the hospital. In almost like cowardice, believing he doesn’t have the power to step in, Jaja retreats, saying, “There’s blood on the floor… I’ll get the brush from the bathroom” (Adichie 33). Ultimately, Jaja failed his self-proclaimed task of protecting the baby, and with all that talk, he left the action omitted in his plans, resulting in Mama’s second miscarriage. “There was an accident, the baby is gone” (Adichie 34). Jaja said he’d do what he could to protect the family, making it his responsibility no matter his age or identity, meaning that his mother losing a child and allowing his dad to make/let that happen is also his responsibility. He should’ve at least attempted to protect his mother like he said he would, instead of standing powerless and allowing his

More about Powerless In The Purple Hibiscus By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Open Document