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Diego Guerra

Final Seminar Guided Questions

How does watching Papa Nnukwu pray effect Kambili?
Kambili watches Papa Nnukwu perform his morning prayers, and she is surprised to realise that
his prayers are very similar to hers. This made me question whether it is right to deem certain
religions as right or wrong.
How does Auntie start to change Kambilis attitude through her several visits? Evidence of
Aunties house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and
love beyond the confines of their fathers authority. The visit will lift the silence from their world
and, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and
unexpected ways. They change fromchildhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between
the old gods and the new.

Religion vs. oppression found throughout the story.

Oppression is explored through narrative point of view. Adichie uses the point of view of
Kambili to show the audience how oppressed the country is not only in the Achike household but
the whole of Nigeria. Again Kambilis honesty and good descriptions help to give the readers an
idea as of how oppressed the country and Eugenes household really is.
Adichie uses narrative point of view to explore the theme of religion. She uses this because
Kambili the narrator is exposed to different kinds of religion, such as, fanatic Catholics, liberated
Catholics and Traditionalists. Again, it is Kambilis observant nature that helps to give the
readers a good idea of what all of the practices are like. Kambilis narration is also used to show
the great impact that religion has on life.

What is the significance of government tearing up hisiscus when they come to talk to Papa?
They show they will have no change, the purple hibiscus shows change, but if the government
tear them up they show there will be no change and that they are coldblooded.

What is the view of Nigerians on their treatment in America?

America is seen as a safe haven for the characters in the novel in many ways. The perception is
that America recognizes and rewards talent without any considerations for the individuals
economic status, family pedigree, or social connections
Amaka says that in America, business and money become more important than family. In Africa,
her family was close and always had fun, but now, they never see eachother and don't laugh
anymore. It's all money and education/business driven.

Why does Amakas attitude toward Kambili change?

Why does Kambili's mother keep returning to her husband, even after he beats her so
badly that he causes a miscarriage, and even after he nearly kills Kambili? How does she
justify her husband's behavior? How should she be judged for poisoning her husband?
I think it is for the triple reasoning that it would probably be impossible for her to get away from
him and form a life (he'd either get her or the country would with its beliefs, systems, and
volatile state); that she wouldn't be able to get away from him with the children; and that I think
she would view her own receipt of abuse as taking some of the heat off her children.

10. How does Father Amadi bring Kambili to life

I think Father Amadi awakened a different side of her, delved into areas of herself she didn't
know about (such as physical awareness in the sense of sexual awakening - if that makes sense...
ie becoming aware of herself as an emerging woman), gave her confidence, and - perhaps most
importantly - gave her a really positive adult male role model. Until then her primary (well, only)
adult male figure had been her severely abusive father. Having someone treat her kindly, look at
her kindly, and have it be real genuine all-encompassing kindness that wasn't off-set by abuse.

11. Jaja questions why Jesus had to be sacrificed, "Why did He have to murder his own son
so we would be saved? Why didn't He just go ahead and save us?" [p. 289] And yet, Jaja
sacrifices himself to save his mother from prison. Why does he do this? Should this be
understood as a Christian sacrifice or a simple act of compassion and bravery?

Jaja breaks with his faith at this point. His questioning of the Bibles parables has resonance in
his own life. The treatment of the son by the father pertains to the abuse suffered at the hands of
Papa as well. Papa, and his faith, is literally and figuratively dead to Jaja at this point.

In the beginning of the story he wouldve never dared to question religion or god. He just is
supposed to believe with no questions asked. The author uses the rhetorical questions to grab the
readers attention so they can be aware of how drastic this statement

12. After Aunty Ifeoma moves her family to the United States, Amaka writes, "there has
never been a power outage and hot water runs from a tap, but we don't laugh anymore . . .
because we no longer have the time to laugh, because we don't even see one another" [p.
301]. What does this passage suggest about the essential difference between American
culture and African culture?

That there are material and lifestyle advantages of living in the US, but they come at the cost of
family closeness and happiness that was common in Africa.

13. What does the novel as a whole say about the nature of religion? About the relationship
between belief and behavior?

The nature of religion depends on each person's interpretation of it. It is meant to be a guiding
light in family life to keep people's moral compasses straight. However, some people say to act
in the name of religion, but act poorly. Religion can be twisted to become the motivating force
for something that is against the religion itself.