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Adiche’s use of religion in the book “purple Hibiscus” shows the differing effects

of religion on people, and how many people see their religion. Religion is that reason

that Eugine abuses his family. But religion is also the thing that keeps Papa-Nnukwa

happy during his final days on earth and keeps aunty Ifeoma and her family positive

during bad times. It also shows people's different thought about their religion, Eugine

thought that people could only go to heaven if they converted, while Ifeoma prayed for

Papa-Nnukwa no matter what religion he was.

Adiche uses Papa to show the more intense side of religion. Religion is Papa main

driving force, most of what he does seems to be inspired by God. he expects his children to be

the best that they can, and better than the others in their class because it is what God intended for

them. He punished them when they did not get first, at one point she was waiting, “to talk about

my report card, to decide how i would be punished” It is reasonable to assume that he believes

the same for himself, that God wants him to be great, so he has worked his hardest to be that

great being for God.

on the other hand, he also uses religion as an excuse for him to abuse his family. When he

says that his children need to strive for greatness in the name of god, he makes sure they do not

stray from that path. If they do not get first in school he beats them with a switch. He has gone

further than that, when his son Jaja did not get first in his Holy Communion class he cut off one

of his fingers, ”papa took him upstairs and locked the door. Jaja, in tears, came out supporting his

left hand with his right.” He also abuses them for things he considers sacrilege. When Jaja and

Kambili slept in the same house as their grandfather, Papa-Nnukwa, a man that Papa considers a

heathen and does not allow them to be near for more than 15 minutes “don't touch and food,

don't drink anything. And, as usual, you will stay no longer than fifteen minutes.” He burned
their feet with boiling water, as symbolism for walking into sin “He lowered the kettle into the

tub, tilted it toward my feet”.

Aunty Ifeoma’s side of the family shows a more positive and healthy relationship with

religion. Ifeoma and her children pray every day like Papa does, but they make it more personal,

and positive. They use prayer songs in their native language, Igbo, these are happier than the

quiet prayers of the more western traditions of Papa. they also pray for those not of the faith,

according to Kambili when Papa prays for Papa-Nnukwa he prays that he will convert so that he

will be saved, on the other hand, Ifeoma just prays for him to be safe. Papa-Nnukwa’s prayers

show the extremely positive side of religion, where is makes a person happier and healthier.

When Kambili sees him pray she notes that he is smiling and that she never smiles during prayer

“I never smiled after we said the rosary back home. None of us did.”

“Purple Hibiscus” adds a lot to the global discussion on the topic of religion. She shows

that it is multifaceted, with real positives and negatives. And that it can make some people's lives

objectively better and worse. I don't think she tries to put a bias for or against religion in this

book, rather lets the reader decide if it is ok to take the evils of Papa with both his positives and

the positives of Ifeoma.