How Does Adichie Introduce Us to Kambili at the Beginning of Purple Hibiscus?

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Adichie writes her novel in first person as Kambili. The lack of personal pronouns in the opening of the novel suggests that Kambili is constantly thinking about everyone else around her, rather than giving her own opinions or thoughts. Kambili is portrayed as a family person, “Our gold-framed family photo.” Instead of Kambili claiming her family to be hers, for example, Kambili saying “My family”, she uses the pronoun “our” to show that she believes her family is united. Using the pronouns such as, “we, our, he, she, etc,” shows us that Kambili adores her family and prefers to express their actions and thoughts to her own. Kambili hardly refers to herself during her explanation of when “things started to fall apart”, and therefore readers never see the word “I” being used. This demonstrates that Kambili felt that she didn’t matter as much as Jaja or Papa did. This then brings us to misogyny in Nigeria during the time the novel was set and how young females like Kambili believed that males were more important than females. Another example is, “Papa always sat in the front pew for Mass, with Mama, Jaja, and me sitting next to him.” This explains that Kambili was always last in terms of importance in her family. Also, calling her father “Papa” shows the respect Kambili had for her father and informs us of her middle class family. Moreover, when Kambili calls her father “Papa”, it illustrates how she worships him, believing he is almost as significant as God. Kambili uses simple syntax, “We had just returned from church.” This introduces Kambili as a calm, young female that puts her memories forward without attempting to create a more complex scenario. This creates a more story-telling type of novel, from a young girl that is writing everything from memory and consequently, everything that is told is shortened so that she doesn’t forget anything as she notifies us of

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