Purple Hibiscus

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Papa’s sister, a tall, outspoken woman who is a professor at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka. Ifeoma is not afraid to criticize her brother, the university, or the Nigerian government. She is a Catholic, but a liberal and open-minded one who accepts Papa-Nnukwu’s traditionalist beliefs. She treats her children with respect, encouraging them to debate and speak their minds. Since her husband Ifediora’s death she has struggled for money, but she refuses to succumb to the demands that come with Papa’s money. Ifeoma ultimately helps both Jaja and Kambili find their voices and independence. She moves to America when the university fires her for speaking out against the “sole administrator.”

Aunty Ifeoma Quotes in Purple Hibiscus

The Purple Hibiscus quotes below are all either spoken by Aunty Ifeoma or refer to Aunty Ifeoma. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Algonquin Books edition of Purple Hibiscus published in 2012.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I lay in bed after Mama left and let my mind rake through the past, through the years when Jaja and Mama and I spoke more with our spirits than with our lips. Until Nsukka. Nsukka started it all; Aunty Ifeoma’s little garden next to the verandah of her flat in Nsukka began to lift the silence. Jaja’s defiance seemed to me now like Aunty Ifeoma’s experimental purple hibiscus: rare, fragrant with the undertones of freedom, a different kind of freedom from the one the crowds waving green leaves chanted at Government Square after the coup. A freedom to be, to do.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Jaja (Chukwuka Achike), Mama (Beatrice Achike), Aunty Ifeoma
Related Symbols: The Purple Hibiscus
Page Number: 15-16
Explanation and Analysis:

As the first chapter draws to a close, we're introduced to the basic structure of the novel, as well as its dominant motif. The novel will be narrated in flashback, so that by the end, we'll fully understand why Papa broke Mama's figurines, and how their family came to be so divided. Furthermore, Adichie introduces us to the purple hibiscus that will come to stand for the characters' sense of freedom and creativity--a freedom that can't be destroyed by repressive parents or governors, try as they might.

The purple hibiscus, Kambili tells us, is free and "experimental"--a sure sign of its symbolic meaning. It's worth noting that although Kambili is seemingly under her father's thumb--living in his house, ex.--in her mind she's now free of his influence.  By the same token, the hibiscus seems to be powerless and domestic, when in reality it's secretly wild and free.

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Chapter 5 Quotes

“Ifeoma could not afford it.” Papa-Nnukwu shook his head. “Since the father of her children died, she has seen hard times. But she will bring them this year. You will see them. It is not right that you don’t know them well, your cousins. It is not right.”
Jaja and I said nothing. We did not know Aunty Ifeoma or her children very well because she and Papa had quarreled about Papa-Nnukwu. Mama told us. Aunty Ifeoma stopped speaking to Papa after he barred Papa-Nnukwu from coming to his house, and a few years passed before they finally started speaking to each other.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Papa-Nnukwu (speaker), Jaja (Chukwuka Achike), Papa (Eugene Achike), Mama (Beatrice Achike), Aunty Ifeoma
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote reaffirms the schism within Kambili's family--a split that is based around Papa's pride and rigid adherence to his own brand of religious dogma. Kambili and Jaja are only allowed to visit their grandfather, Papa-Nnukwu, for fifteen minutes each Christmas, and never to accept food or drink from him. Here Papa-Nnukwu's brief update highlights how different Papa is from his sister, Aunty Ifeoma. Papa is rich; Ifeoma is poor and widowed. Papa is dogmatic and strict; Ifeoma is openminded and independent. Papa places religion over family; Ifeoma does the opposite (she is a Christian too, but still loves and takes care of her "pagan" father). While Kambili and Jaja are still very much under their father's thumb at this point, every fact they learn about the outside world, and even about their own family, seems to go against Papa's narrow-minded worldview.

Chapter 7 Quotes

“…But you know Eugene quarrels with the truths that he does not like. Our father is dying, do you hear me? Dying. He is an old man, how much longer does he have, gbo? Yet Eugene will not let him into this house, will not even greet him… Eugene has to stop doing God’s job. God is big enough to do his own job. If God will judge our father for choosing to follow the way of our ancestors, then let God do the judging, not Eugene.”

Related Characters: Aunty Ifeoma (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike), Mama (Beatrice Achike), Papa-Nnukwu
Page Number: 95-96
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Kamibili overhears her mother talking with Papa's sister, Aunty Ifeoma. Ifeoma is immediately shown to be a strong, confident woman, in contrast with the (relatively) submissive Mama. Ifeoma is the only one willing to tell the truth about Papa--that his ideals and rigid obsession with rules are getting in the way of real familial love and basic human concerns. Papa-Nnukwu, Papa and Ifeoma's father, is dying, but Papa won't visit or help him because Papa-Nnukwu refuses to give up practicing traditional Igbo rituals. (Ifeoma, for her part, is still a Christian, but an openminded one willing to blend Western and Nigerian beliefs.) Here Ifeoma essentially lays it all on the line--Papa (Eugene) is trying to play God, instead of letting God take care of his own business. Ifeoma prefers a more humanistic approach to Christianity, while Papa clearly clings to order, control, and rigid dogma. And in perspective, Papa's refusal to visit his own dying father because of religious differences seems like a very un-Christian thing to do.

Chapter 8 Quotes

I did not say anything else until lunch was over, but I listened to every word spoken, followed every cackle of laughter and line of banter. Mostly, my cousins did the talking and Aunty Ifeoma sat back and watched them, eating slowly. She looked like a football coach who had done a good job with her team and was satisfied to stand next to the eighteen-yard box and watch.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Aunty Ifeoma
Page Number: 120-121
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Kambili has gone to visit Aunty Ifeoma in her home. There, Kambili is shocked to find a very different kind of household than the one she is used to. Unlike Papa, Aunty Ifeoma encourages noise and conversation--indeed, she seems to enjoy sitting back and listening to her children argue and bicker, as if she's done a "good job" raising them and teaching them to debate about issues freely. Papa, of course, acts like a god in his own home--a tyrant with moral authority in all things--and prefers his wife and children to remain silent at all times, unless they're praying or agreeing with him.

Ifeoma's behavior in this passage indicates that she values open discourse and freedom of speech; not only in Nigerian society but in her home (versus her brother, who values political freedom, but not personal or religious freedom in his house). Furthermore, Kambili's surprise with Ifeoma reminds us how severe her own upbringing is: Papa doesn't let her speak her mind, let alone talk at the dinner table. It is only through their interactions with Ifeoma and her family that Kambili and Jaja will start to escape their father's influence.

“I hear he’s very involved in the editorial decisions. The Standard is the only paper that dares to tell the truth these days.”
“Yes,” Aunty Ifeoma said. “And he has a brilliant editor, Ade Coker, although I wonder how much longer before they lock him up for good. Even Eugene’s money will not buy everything.”
“I was reading somewhere that Amnesty World is giving your brother an award,” Father Amadi said. He was nodding slowly, admiringly, and I felt myself go warm all over, with pride, with a desire to be associated with Papa.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Aunty Ifeoma (speaker), Father Amadi (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike), Ade Coker
Page Number: 136-137
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Kambili meets Father Amadi, a young, handsome priest. Amadi is impressed to hear that Kambili's father is Eugene Achike, since he knows Eugene to be an important philanthropist and advocate for political freedom: Eugene is regarded as something of a hero among the Nigerian people. Amadi tells Kambili about some of her father's most impressive achievements: as a writer and journalist, he's one of the only figures in the country who dares to criticize the Nigerian leadership, a decision that might eventually lead him into prison (along with his editor, Ade Coker).

The passage is notable because it reminds us of the paradoxes of Papa's behavior. He's an incredibly generous and noble-spirited man, who donates his time and money to fighting for other people. And yet he's also a severe, brutal dictator in his own house: he sincerely believes that children should be beaten and punished harshly when they do anything wrong. While Papa's behavior might be hard for readers to understand, Adichie uses his contradictions to make him a deeply human and fascinating character, both admirable and reprehensible at once.

Chapter 10 Quotes

“How can Our Lady intercede on behalf of a heathen, Aunty?”
Aunty Ifeoma was silent as she ladled the thick cocoyam paste into the soup pot; then she looked up and said Papa-Nnukwu was not a heathen but a traditionalist, that sometimes what was different was just as good as what was familiar, that when Papa-Nnukwu did his itu-nzu, his declaration of innocence, in the morning, it was the same as our saying the rosary.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Aunty Ifeoma, Papa-Nnukwu
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

The divide within Kambili's family couldn't be clearer in this passage. Kambili has been raised by her Papa to believe in the strictest interpretation of Catholicism; she believes that God doesn't respond to heathens--i.e., those who haven't taken communion and who don't interpret Catholicism correctly. Thus, when Kambili hears Ifeoma praising the Virgin Mary for Papa-Nnukwu's improving health, she doubts that God will listen to prayers on the behalf of a "heathen." Aunty Ifeoma pauses, as if trying to keep from saying something too harsh, and then diplomatically tries to correct some of Kambili's beliefs without attacking Papa too directly: she claims that it's possible to worship God in many different ways. In short, Ifeoma subscribes to the belief that many religions have their good points; she's a pluralist who embraces many different points of view. Furthermore, she suggests, a truly loving God wouldn't entirely abandon his creation, no matter their beliefs. Kambili, on the other hand, has been raised on a stricter, narrower point of view.

“Ifeoma, did you call a priest?” Papa asked.
“Is that all you can say, eh, Eugene? Have you nothing else to say, gbo? Our father has died! Has your head turned upside down? Will you not help me to bury our father?”
“I cannot participate in a pagan funeral, but we can discuss with the parish priest and arrange a Catholic funeral.”
Aunty Ifeoma got up and started to shout. Her voice was unsteady. “I will put my dead husband’s grave up for sale, Eugene, before I give our father a Catholic funeral. Do you hear me? I said I will sell Ifediora’s grave first! Was our father a Catholic? I ask you, Eugene, was he a Catholic? Uchu gba gi!” Aunty Ifeoma snapped her fingers at Papa; she was throwing a curse at him. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

Related Characters: Papa (Eugene Achike) (speaker), Aunty Ifeoma (speaker), Papa-Nnukwu, Ifediora
Page Number: 188-189
Explanation and Analysis:

Papa-Nnukwu has died, and Papa has also arrived to pick up his children. In the immediate aftermath of Papa-Nnukwu's death, we're reminded of the discord within his family: as soon as he hears the news, Papa argues with Aunty Ifeoma about how their father should be buried. Papa is so strict in his religious beliefs that he refuses to give his father a "pagan"--i.e., not totally Catholic--funeral, despite the fact that Papa-Nnukwu was a "pagan" for his entire life. Papa seems more upset that his father didn't convert to Catholicism before death than he is with his father's death itself. Ifeoma, by contrast, is willing to honor her father's religion by giving him the proper funeral he would have wanted. Furthermore, Ifeoma seems genuinely upset by her father's death, finally losing the confidence and control she has exhibited throughout the novel, and shouting at and cursing Eugene.

Chapter 12 Quotes

It was what Aunty Ifeoma did to my cousins, I realized then, setting higher and higher jumps for them in the way she talked to them, in what she expected of them. She did it all the time believing they would scale the rod. And they did. It was different for Jaja and me. We did not scale the rod because we believed we could, we scaled it because we were terrified that we couldn’t.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Jaja (Chukwuka Achike), Aunty Ifeoma
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Kambili watches as Father Amadi teaches children how to exercise by literally "raising the bar"--i.e., putting up a rod and encouraging the children to jump over it, and then gradually raising it higher and higher. Kambili comes to see the rod as a metaphor for different methods of upbringing. She's been raised by a strict, tyrannical parent, Papa, who tries to get her to succeed by hurting her and threatening to hit her. Kambili now understands and admires the strategy that Aunty Ifeoma uses instead: instead of beating or shaming her children, she gives them praise and encouragement--more effective motivators than fear. In the end, Kambili thinks, Ifeoma's method of child-rearing is more powerful, because it encourages children to become self-motivated--they want to jump higher, rather than just jumping out of fear of punishment.

“It is not about me, Chiaku.” Aunty Ifeoma paused. “Who will teach Amaka and Obiora in university?”
“The educated ones leave, the ones with the potential to right the wrongs. They leave the weak behind. The tyrants continue to reign because the weak cannot resist. Do you not see that it is a cycle? Who will break that cycle?”

Related Characters: Aunty Ifeoma (speaker), Chiaku (speaker), Amaka, Obiora
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we learnt that Aunty Ifeoma is considering moving to America, where she could get a job teaching at university. In Ameirca, Aunty Ifeoma's work would receive more praise--and she also wouldn't be risking her life to continue her academic projects. Furthermore, Ifeoma's children could receive a real education without fear of violence, strikes, or lack of utilities. And yet Aunty Ifeoma's friend Chiaku here resents her for contemplating leaving Nigeria. Chiaku points out that Nigeria has always had a problem with maintaining its own talent: whenever somebody is talented or successful, he or she goes to the West and never comes back. Chiaku characterizes the process as a cycle: the talented grow up in Nigeria, but then leave for American or European schools, and so Nigeria stays mostly the same--having driven out its best and brightest. Chiaku has a point on a global and political level--tyranny is only perpetuated through ignorance and stagnancy--but on a personal level, Ifeoma seems to have no positive option other than leaving the country she loves.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“It’s your father. They called me from the factory, they found him lying dead on his desk.” Mama sounded like a recording…
Jaja grabbed the phone. Aunty Ifeoma led me to the bed. I sat down and stared at the bag of rice that leaned against the bedroom wall… I had never considered the possibility that Papa would die, that Papa could die. He was different from Ade Coker, from all the other people they had killed. He had seemed immortal.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Mama (Beatrice Achike) (speaker), Jaja (Chukwuka Achike), Papa (Eugene Achike), Aunty Ifeoma, Ade Coker
Page Number: 287
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Kambili receives word that her father has been found dead at his desk. Kambili is shocked by the news of her father's death: he'd always seemed like an immortal to her--a harsh, tyrannical god, but still a god.

It's not yet clear why Kambili's father has died so suddenly. And yet his death is a crucial turning-point in the novel. Kambili has been moving further and further from her father's worldview throughout the last couple chapters--as if to reflect Kambili's growing independence, Papa dies, so that he can no longer control what Kambili does or thinks. Papa is a complex character, at once contemptible, admirable, and tragic: he's a brutal bully, but he also seems to love his children sincerely, and has undoubtedly done much good in the world outside his own home.

Chapter 17 Quotes

There are people, she once wrote, who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once.

Related Characters: Aunty Ifeoma (speaker)
Page Number: 301
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Aunty Ifeoma, who has moved to America to teach, writes about the history of Nigeria, and of colonialism. Ifeoma notes that there are "some" (i.e., mostly Western intellectuals) who believe that the Western world needs to control and direct Africa forever, since Africans don't know how to control their own people. Ifeoma finds such an argument illogical--African countries need to learn how to run themselves, rather than depending on Western military and economic control forever.

Ifeoma's statements bring the novel to a cautiously optimistic ending, and broaden the perspective of the story from the personal to the international. We've seen how the characters fight for control of their own minds and lives, sometimes resorting to violence to do so. Ifeoma seems to argue that the struggle for freedom is always worthwhile, because the end goal is freedom from tyrannical people--Papa, for example--or freedom from tyrannical countries--like Britain and the U.S. Essentially she's saying that it's unfair to judge Nigeria against much older, more prosperous nations like America or Western Europe, as Nigeria is still very young as a country, and still going through "growing pains." Ifeoma has gone against her friend's advice and moved to America--contributing to the cycle of Nigeria's best and brightest leaving the country--but here she is also fulfilling the tradition of the emigre who gains the best perspective and insight regarding her homeland only when she is away from it.

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Aunty Ifeoma Character Timeline in Purple Hibiscus

The timeline below shows where the character Aunty Ifeoma appears in Purple Hibiscus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
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...the family to speak English, so as to “sound civilized.” Kambili remembers Papa’s sister, Aunty Ifeoma, calling Papa a “colonial product.” Jaja responds that he has nothing to say, and he... (full context)
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...our spirits than with our lips,” but the true changes began when they visited Aunty Ifeoma in Nsukka. Kambili remembers Ifeoma’s garden of purple hibiscus, and the scent of freedom they... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Jaja and Kambili ask about his health, and Papa-Nnukwu says that their Aunty Ifeoma brings him medicine when she can afford it. He says that Ifeoma and her children... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Aunty Ifeoma arrives the next day. She is as tall as Papa is, and walks and speaks... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma and Mama talk, and Ifeoma suggests that they go to the traditional Aro festival the... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma goes on to criticize the “military tyrant” ruling the country now. She says that they... (full context)
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Papa comes in and Aunty Ifeoma tells him that Jaja and Kambili should spend time with her tomorrow. Kambili feels a... (full context)
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Ifeoma’s children arrive at the house. The oldest is fifteen-year-old Amaka, then her fourteen-year-old brother Obiora,... (full context)
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...TV time on their schedules, even though they have a satellite dish on both houses. Ifeoma’s family then leaves to see Papa-Nnukwu again and then go to Ukpo, where Ifeoma’s late... (full context)
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The next morning Aunty Ifeoma drives in to pick up Jaja and Kambili. She suggests that Kambili wear trousers, and... (full context)
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They stop at Papa-Nnukwu’s house and Ifeoma’s children get out. Jaja and Kambili stay in the car. Ifeoma asks them why they... (full context)
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Papa-Nnukwu gets in the car and jokes with Aunty Ifeoma and her children. They all laugh except for Jaja and Kambili. Kambili tries to smile,... (full context)
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...to a heathen masquerade.” Jaja asks Papa-Nnukwu about the people inside the mmuo costumes, but Ifeoma tells him that everyone is supposed to pretend that they’re really spirits. Ifeoma then realizes... (full context)
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They leave and drop off Papa-Nnukwu. When Aunty Ifeoma drops off Jaja and Kambili, Amaka loudly says she doesn’t want to go inside. That... (full context)
Chapter 7
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On Christmas Papa takes the family to Mass, but beforehand they see Aunty Ifeoma and her children. Ifeoma and Amaka are both wearing bright red lipstick. During Mass Kambili... (full context)
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...backyard. Kambili goes upstairs, and while she is changing she hears her cousins and Aunty Ifeoma arrive. She can hear them all laughing. Kambili goes out, pacing her breathing so she... (full context)
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The family goes downstairs and greets the Igwe. Aunty Ifeoma bows to him, but Mama shakes his hand. Then they go back upstairs, leaving Papa... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma goes on, saying that her husband, Ifediora, did not get along with Papa because Ifediora... (full context)
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...lunch. They sit down and Papa prays for more than twenty minutes over the meal. Ifeoma mutters about the rice getting cold, but Papa ignores her. As they eat, Ifeoma insists... (full context)
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...about the rumored appearances of the Virgin Mary at the tiny village of Aokpe. Aunty Ifeoma suggests that Jaja and Kambili should come visit her, so she can take them and... (full context)
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...When he gets home he is still in a good mood, and he calls Aunty Ifeoma. He says that Jaja and Kambili can go to Aokpe as long as they remember... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...university lawn, with the motto “To restore the dignity of man.” They drive into Aunty Ifeoma’s neighborhood and find her apartment, which is one of many in a large apartment building. (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma comes out and hugs Jaja and Kambili, and is delighted to see the food and... (full context)
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...to run after him and ask him to take her back, but she doesn’t. Aunty Ifeoma speaks casually, as if this visit were a usual occurrence. She is cooking in the... (full context)
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...sit down on the mismatched chairs at the peeling dining room table for lunch. Aunty Ifeoma says a brief prayer and then eats, joking that she doesn’t say Mass over every... (full context)
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Everyone talks and laughs loudly as they eat, and Aunty Ifeoma jokes with her children. Kambili stays quiet and stares at her plate, confused by the... (full context)
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...Mama eating alone, and the full crates of soft drinks always in their house. Aunty Ifeoma and her children watch TV as they eat, and they invite Jaja and Kambili to... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma says that Jaja and Kambili can stay up as long as they want watching TV.... (full context)
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...people are so bored that they need schedules to tell them what to do. Aunty Ifeoma emerges with a rosary and crucifix, and they all kneel and start to recite the... (full context)
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Afterwards Aunty Ifeoma goes to bed and the cousins keep watching TV. Kambili feels like her “real self”... (full context)
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...happy. After getting water the family recites some prayers and sings more Igbo songs. Aunty Ifeoma prays for the university, for Nigeria, and that they might find “peace and laughter today.”... (full context)
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They each take turns bathing and then Aunty Ifeoma makes a breakfast that seems paltry compared to Kambili’s usual one. Ifeoma wants to show... (full context)
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...the purple hibiscus, but then they all get in the car. To save fuel, Aunty Ifeoma switches off the ignition when going downhill. She shows them the different university buildings, and... (full context)
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They drive past a hill and Aunty Ifeoma says that from the top you can see how God laid out the hills of... (full context)
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...fuel. The car behind her stops and a woman gets out. She sympathizes with Aunty Ifeoma about the lack of fuel. Obiora wants to push the car, but Ifeoma turns the... (full context)
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...at home Jaja and Obiora go off to play soccer, and Kambili stays with Aunty Ifeoma and Amaka to cook. Kambili offers to the peel the yam slices, but soon Amaka... (full context)
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...Kambili is entranced by Father Amadi’s melodious voice. He seems totally at home in Aunty Ifeoma’s house, and her children talk familiarly and joke with him. He asks Jaja and Kambili... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma tells Father Amadi that her brother almost single-handedly finances St. Agnes, and Father Amadi is... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma says that she hadn’t even heard of the award, but she isn’t surprised she didn’t... (full context)
Chapter 9
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At Aunty Ifeoma’s house there is always laughter, and brief arguments, and random Igbo praise songs. There is... (full context)
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That evening as Kambili sets the table, she hears Amaka asking Aunty Ifeoma if Kambili and Jaja are “abnormal.” Ifeoma rebukes her and tells her to respect her... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma asks Kambili to join them in the garden, and she talks to Kambili about the... (full context)
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...Jaja says that “Jaja” is just a nickname that stuck—his real name is Chukwuka. Aunty Ifeoma says that Jaja might take after the “defiant” king Jaja of Opobo, who refused to... (full context)
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...that Jaja’s little finger is gnarled and deformed, and he asks him about it. Aunty Ifeoma quickly says that Jaja had an “accident,” and she sends Chima away. Kambili meets Ifeoma’s... (full context)
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...arrested again. Mama says she is worried about Papa. After she talks to Mama, Aunty Ifeoma buys a newspaper even though she hardly ever does, and sees a tiny article about... (full context)
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...morning, and Kambili is worried that it is bad news about Papa being killed. Aunty Ifeoma answers, but she doesn’t say who it was. She is irritable and quiet for the... (full context)
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Father Amadi notices that Aunty Ifeoma is upset and he asks her about it. She says that she got news that... (full context)
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...out if she has to share a room with a “heathen.” After the rosary Aunty Ifeoma prays for Papa-Nnukwu’s health. Kambili is surprised, as Papa only ever prays that Papa-Nnukwu be... (full context)
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The next morning Father Amadi arrives unshaven and wearing shorts, bringing the fuel to Aunty Ifeoma. Obiora offers to suck the fuel from the can to the car’s tank with the... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma returns that afternoon with Papa-Nnukwu. He seems tired and greets Kambili weakly. Amaka and Obiora... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma says that the doctors at the medical center are on strike, but that she knows... (full context)
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...doesn’t care whether Papa finds out or not. She asks him if he told Aunty Ifeoma about his finger, and he says that he did. Kambili wonders if he has forgotten... (full context)
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Doctor Nduoma leaves, and Aunty Ifeoma thanks Jaja for cleaning her car, calling him by the same title she uses for... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...verandah as he tells them stories about his village. He takes his medicine, and Aunty Ifeoma looks relieved. She thinks he will get better soon and start asking to return to... (full context)
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Kambili goes into the kitchen. Aunty Ifeoma notices that she is crying, but Kambili says that something must have flown into her... (full context)
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The next morning Aunty Ifeoma wakes Kambili up to watch Papa-Nnukwu perform his “declaration of innocence” rite. He is on... (full context)
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Later that morning Amaka washes Papa-Nnukwu’s feet and then continues her painting of him. Aunty Ifeoma asks Kambili to help her with the cooking, and Kambili is again embarrassed at her... (full context)
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Father Amadi leaves, and Aunty Ifeoma tells Kambili to change into shorts before he comes back to pick her up. Kambili... (full context)
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When Kambili gets home, Aunty Ifeoma says that Papa called. He had learned from someone in Abba that Papa-Nnukwu was staying... (full context)
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...They shake him but he doesn’t stir. Amaka panics and calls for her mother. Aunty Ifeoma runs in, confirms that Papa-Nnukwu is dead, and starts to wail, clutching at her father’s... (full context)
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...on strike as well. The ambulance drives off with Papa-Nnukwu’s body and Kambili helps Aunty Ifeoma clean off his mattress. Ifeoma asks if Kambili saw her grandfather’s face in death, and... (full context)
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...flat. Kambili suddenly freezes. Papa comes inside and Kambili and Jaja greet him mechanically. Aunty Ifeoma says that he should not have come, but Papa says that he could not let... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma tells Papa that Papa-Nnukwu has died. Papa sits down and puts his head in his... (full context)
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...Jaja to him, kissing their heads, and he tells them to get their things. Aunty Ifeoma comes in as Kambili is packing. She gives Kambili back her schedule. Kambili asks her... (full context)
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Chima starts to cry as Kevin packs up the car. Aunty Ifeoma says that he will see Jaja soon, but Papa doesn’t confirm this. Instead he gives... (full context)
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...Papa doesn’t mention it. Papa says that his father has gone to face judgment, as Ifeoma didn’t call a priest to let him convert before he died. Jaja says “maybe he... (full context)
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...As they eat Kambili notices how much meat they all have compared to at Aunty Ifeoma’s house. Jaja asks Papa for the key to his room, as he wants some privacy—Papa... (full context)
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...day Papa complains about the cost of pagan funerals. He says that he has given Ifeoma money for Papa-Nnukwu’s funeral. Just then, Ade Coker arrives with another man and Papa leaves... (full context)
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...up with her eyes, and changes the subject when she mentions it. One day Aunty Ifeoma calls to ask about Papa. Jaja talks to her about Papa in a way he... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...and Father Benedict praying and giving her extreme unction. Kambili tells Mama to call Aunty Ifeoma. Mama’s face is puffy from crying, and Kambili suddenly wants to both hug her and... (full context)
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...see Father Amadi leaning over her. She wonders if she is dreaming. She hears Aunty Ifeoma’s voice, saying that her children could not come because of school. Ifeoma tells Mama that... (full context)
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...be going to Nsukka with Jaja when she is discharged in two days. Somehow Aunty Ifeoma had convinced Papa. (full context)
Chapter 12
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Kambili arrives at Aunty Ifeoma’s house and everyone treats her gingerly, as if she was still weak and sick. Jaja... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma goes upstairs and Kambili is left alone with Amaka. Amaka tells Kambili that she is... (full context)
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The next day Kambili wakes up late to see Aunty Ifeoma on the verandah with another female professor. They are discussing the government-appointed “sole administrator” who... (full context)
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...Obiora says the university is now a “microcosm of the country.” Amaka says that Aunty Ifeoma has been considering moving to America, where she will at least be paid and have... (full context)
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...higher and higher for them to jump over. Kambili realizes that this is how Aunty Ifeoma treats her children—treating them like adults, expecting more of them until they can jump over... (full context)
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...hair should be plaited, and he will take her to the woman who plaits Aunty Ifeoma’s hair. Father Amadi reaches out and touches Kambili’s hair, and then he gets up and... (full context)
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The next morning Kambili and Amaka wake up early, sensing that something is wrong. Aunty Ifeoma is on the verandah, and they can hear singing. Ifeoma says that the students are... (full context)
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That afternoon Aunty Ifeoma brings news of the riot. The students burned the sole administrator’s house and six university... (full context)
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...They burst in and say they are searching the flat for documents to prove that Ifeoma helped incite the riot. Ifeoma asks for papers to prove this, but the men push... (full context)
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Obiora says that they should go to the police, but Aunty Ifeoma says that the police are part of this too. She says that they are just... (full context)
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...tub. She throws it into the toilet and then bathes. When she comes out Aunty Ifeoma gives her some soybean milk, saying that she can’t afford dairy milk anymore. One of... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma tells Obiora to kill the chicken, but Jaja offers to do it instead. Kambili is... (full context)
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...and takes her to get her hair plaited. Mama Joe, the woman who does Aunty Ifeoma’s hair, welcomes her and talks familiarly to Kambili. She is surprised to hear that Father... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...however, and Amaka says she doesn’t want an English name. They return home, where Aunty Ifeoma is telling a friend about the security agents ransacking her flat. (full context)
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When Aunty Ifeoma’s story is over, her friend, whose name is Chiaku, relays the news that a professor’s... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma tells Chiaku that she is thinking about moving to America, and she has sent her... (full context)
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Amaka tells Kambili about the times Aunty Ifeoma has slapped them for misbehaving. She says that afterwards Ifeoma always gives a long talk... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma cleans out the freezer, as meat has started to go bad because of all the... (full context)
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Papa calls that evening. Aunty Ifeoma answers, but doesn’t let Mama come to the phone. After she hangs up Mama gets... (full context)
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...women to choose from. She then sits back down on the floor and says that Ifeoma has come with her “university talk” again. Kambili has never seen her mother say so... (full context)
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After Mama and Aunty Ifeoma go to bed, Kambili plays cards with Amaka and Obiora. Amaka says that Papa isn’t... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...kissed the cross and wept, and how Papa was so pleased by her tears. Aunty Ifeoma calls, interrupting her memories. No one answers, so Kambili gets the phone. Ifeoma says that... (full context)
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Kambili is horrified by this news. She calls for Jaja, who talks to Aunty Ifeoma. When he hangs up he declares that they are going to Nsukka. Kambili wonders how... (full context)
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Kambili feels sad as they stand and eat on the verandah, thinking about Aunty Ifeoma’s family leaving. Amaka says that at least they won’t have to bar their doors in... (full context)
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...approval. But at the same time she wants to leave with Father Amadi or Aunty Ifeoma and never go back to Enugu. (full context)
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...slipping a flower from her finger and putting it on his own. He says that Ifeoma wants her and Jaja to go to boarding school. He is going to Enugu to... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...and asserting that Igbo names are just as valuable and godly as English names. Aunty Ifeoma gets irritated and snaps at her, and Amaka goes into her room to listen to... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma decides that they should finally make the pilgrimage to Aokpe. Jaja says he does not... (full context)
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Kambili wants to linger, but Aunty Ifeoma says they should leave before the crowd. Amaka and Father Amadi tease each other, but... (full context)
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When Kambili gets home, Aunty Ifeoma asks her what is wrong, but Kambili won’t say. Aunty Ifeoma asks Kambili to pray... (full context)
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The next day they are all nervous about Aunty Ifeoma’s interview. She drives up and says that she got the visa. Obiora and Chima are... (full context)
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...with him, but she refuses, suddenly angry that he is leaving. She asks if Aunty Ifeoma had asked him to take her to the stadium that first day. Father Amadi says... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma finishes packing and they decide to go for a last ride in Nsukka. They stop... (full context)
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That evening they are playing cards when the phone rings. Aunty Ifeoma answers it and screams. Kambili takes the phone, and Mama mechanically tells her that Papa... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...that he should have taken better care of Mama, like Obiora takes care of Aunty Ifeoma. Kambili says “God works in mysterious ways,” and thinks that Papa would have been proud... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...had gone to Nsukka, even though she doesn’t know anyone there anymore. She visited Aunty Ifeoma’s old flat, and the family living there offered her a glass of water. On the... (full context)
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Aunty Ifeoma sends cassette tapes of her family’s voices to Jaja. Sometimes he plays them when Kambili... (full context)
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...without first being spoken to. Kambili goes on: after Nsukka, she wants to visit Aunty Ifeoma in America. And then they will go back to Abba, and Jaja will plant purple... (full context)