Gender Roles and Abuse: Purple Hibiscus vs. Sin is a Puppy Essay

Gender Roles and Abuse: Purple Hibiscus vs. Sin is a Puppy Essay

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In a world that often seems to revolve around patriarchy, we are all taught about gender roles and pressured to adhere to them, whether they are enforced or not. For example, the female gender role involves women having children, cooking and cleaning, and being overall submissive. The male gender role focuses on men being the “bread-winners” and “protectors” of their household, by working, being tough, and having a dominant nature. In both Purple Hibiscus and Sin is a Puppy that Follows You Home (commonly referred to as Sin is a Puppy), two West-African based novels written by female, feminist authors, the characters seemed to fit into their stereotypical gender roles perfectly, especially Beatrice and Rabi, the two matriarchs of the novels, respectfully. However, when it came to tolerating their husbands’ abuse, the two matriarchs handled this situation differently, in the end. The text itself also has a lot to do with these differing reactions. Both texts focus on different societies, are intended for different audiences, and have different overall purposes. Even though both matriarchs stem from similar backgrounds and were both forced into strict, specified gender roles, Beatrice and Rabi had polar opposite responses to the abuse from their husbands due to how the different facets of their gender roles and specific textual aspects impacted them as characters.
Firstly, I believe that it’s important to address the differences in the two general texts before delving into why the specific, matriarchal characters had such differing reactions. For example, the setting of both texts are pretty different. Purple Hibiscus is set in a more modernized and heavily Christian Igbo society in Nigeria, while Sin is a Puppy is set in a more co...


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...dinate in the household. Both women were created by feminist authors; however, one was heavily influenced by her traditional religion while the other was heavily influenced by the expectations of her Western audience. The combination of the societal pressures of genders roles and the author’s intent ultimately lead to the two matriarch’s opposite reactions to their husbands’ abuse.



Works Cited

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Purple Hibiscus. Chapel Hill: Algonquin of Chapel Hill, 2003. Print.
Flanagan, Mark. "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie." Contemporary Literature.
About.com, n.d. Web. 9 May 2014.
Sotonwa, Itunuoluwa. "Balaraba Ramat Yakubu’s Unique Novel Hits The Bookshelves." AriyaToday. N.p., 16 Dec. 2012. Web. 8 May 2014.
Yakubu, Balaraba Ramat. Sin Is a Puppy That Follows You Home. Chennai: Published by Blaft Publications in Association with Tranquebar, 2012. Print.

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