Purple Hibiscus

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Father Amadi Character Analysis

A young, handsome Nigerian priest who is friends with Aunty Ifeoma and her children. He is a Catholic who also respects his Nigerian roots, incorporating Igbo songs into his prayers and blending the old ways with the new. He plays soccer with local boys, jokes with Ifeoma’s children, and acts decidedly “unpriestly.” Kambili comes to fall in love with him. He leaves to do missionary work in Germany, but remains close with Kambili.

Father Amadi Quotes in Purple Hibiscus

The Purple Hibiscus quotes below are all either spoken by Father Amadi or refer to Father Amadi. 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 8 Quotes

“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.

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Father Amadi led the first decade, and at the end, he started an Igbo praise song. While they sang, I opened my eyes and stared at the wall… I pressed my lips together, biting my lower lip, so my mouth would not join in the singing on its own, so my mouth would not betray me.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Father Amadi
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

Kambili and Jaja have had their eyes opened during their brief time with Aunty Ifeoma and her family. Unlike Father Benedict, Ifeoma's priest Father Amadi is young, openminded, and, most importantly, is accepting of Nigerian and Igbo traditions as being equally valuable to Western Catholic doctrine. As we've already learned, Papa considers Igbo to be a language that is inferior to English, and is even "heathen" in its origins, but Father Amadi embraces Igbo as another language of praise for a universal, life-affirming God. This worldview is obviously more appealing than Papa's, but at this point Kambili is still very much under her father's influence. We see this fact especially in this scene, as she "silences" herself by biting her lip, instead of singing along with the rest of her family. According to Papa, Kambili would be doing the good Christian thing, but from an outside perspective this seems repressive and ridiculous--she is purposefully keeping herself from praising the very God she professes to love, as well as refusing to join in an expression of communal love, joy, and celebration.

Chapter 10 Quotes

I laughed. It sounded strange, as if I were listening to the recorded laughter of a stranger being played back. I was not sure I had ever heard myself laugh.
“Why did you become a priest?” I blurted out, then wished I had not asked, that the bubbles in my throat had not let that through. Of course he had gotten the call, the same call that all the Reverend Sisters in school talked about when they asked us to always listen for the call when we prayed. Sometimes I imagined God calling me, his rumbling voice British-accented. He would not say my name right; like Father Benedict, he would place the emphasis on the second syllable rather than the first.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Father Amadi, Father Benedict
Page Number: 179-180
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Kambili begins to reluctantly shed some of her preconceptions about life and religion, while moving on to accept others. She's spending time with Father Amadi, who she seems to like a lot. Amadi gets Kambili to loosen up and stop being so silent, and before long, Kambili is laughing for the first time in the entire novel. Kambili asks Amadi why he became a priest, but then regrets this and tells us, the readers, that she knows the answer: God calls priests to the profession.

Kambili's idea of God's "calling" shows us how Eurocentric her worldview is because of Papa's upbringing. She's been taught to embrace a Christian God who listens to all Catholics, but who doesn't really fit with her own culture and country. Kambili can't even imagine God pronouncing her name correctly, or speaking in any way other than with a white British accent--a clear symbol for the discord between Kambili's religion and her culture.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“When the missionaries first came, they didn’t think Igbo names were good enough. They insisted that people take English names to be baptized. Shouldn’t we be moving ahead?”
“It’s different now, Amaka, don’t make this what it’s not,” Father Amadi said calmly…
“But what’s the point, then?” Amaka said… “What the church is saying is that only an English name will make your confirmation valid. ‘Chiamaka’ says God is beautiful. ‘Chima’ says God knows best, ‘Chiebuka’ says God is the greatest. Don’t they all glorify God as much as ‘Paul’ and ‘Peter’ and ‘Simon’?”

Related Characters: Amaka (speaker), Father Amadi
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Amaka, the teenaged child of Aunty Ifeoma, is preparing for her confirmation. As Adichie explains it, in Nigeria the Catholic confirmation ritual usually involves the priest giving the young man or woman a "Christian name"--i.e., a Western name. Amaka, a budding political activist and Nigerian nationalist, argues that she shouldn't have to take a Christian name; names of Nigerian origin are just as holy and appropriate for the confirmation ritual. Amaka's argument reinforces the notion that a truly spiritual and political person sometimes must be a pluralist--i.e., must embrace many different cultures and ideologies. Amaka is willing to go through confirmation--a European transplant--and yet she also wants to hang on to her Nigerian identity during the process. 

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Father Amadi Character Timeline in Purple Hibiscus

The timeline below shows where the character Father Amadi appears in Purple Hibiscus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...few minutes later her children arrive—they had been visiting a family friend, a priest named Father Amadi . The cousins all hug, though Amaka hardly acknowledges Kambili. Obiora invites Jaja along with... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...show Jaja and Kambili the university and be back for dinner, as she has invited Father Amadi to eat with them. Ifeoma hopes that she will have enough fuel to drive around... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...slices, but soon Amaka stops her, exasperated, saying that she is wasting too much yam. Father Amadi arrives later, and Ifeoma and her family greet him warmly. Kambili feels strange calling him... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
At dinner Kambili is entranced by Father Amadi ’s melodious voice. He seems totally at home in Aunty Ifeoma’s house, and her children... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Aunty Ifeoma tells Father Amadi that her brother almost single-handedly finances St. Agnes, and Father Amadi is shocked to hear... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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...Virgin sightings at Aokpe, and Amaka says “it’s about time Our Lady came to Africa.” Father Amadi neither confirms nor denies the apparition, saying that we don’t need to go anywhere to... (full context)
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Amaka half-jokingly asks Father Amadi about the “doubting Thomas” inside everyone as well, but in response Father Amadi only makes... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Violence Theme Icon
...say who it was. She is irritable and quiet for the rest of the day. Father Amadi stops by during dinner. He says he was playing soccer with some boys earlier, and... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Father Amadi notices that Aunty Ifeoma is upset and he asks her about it. She says that... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
The next morning Father Amadi arrives unshaven and wearing shorts, bringing the fuel to Aunty Ifeoma. Obiora offers to suck... (full context)
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Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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Father Amadi leaves, Chima visits a neighbor, and Amaka goes into her room to listen to her... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...relieved. She thinks he will get better soon and start asking to return to Abba. Father Amadi drives up to visit Papa-Nnukwu, and Kambili’s hands shake when she sees his car. He... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
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Father Amadi is delighted to hear that Papa-Nnukwu is improving, and he says he will take Jaja... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Amaka shows Kambili how to prepare the orah leaves for the soup. Father Amadi arrives later, and Kambili nervously shakes his hand. Amaka talks to him the most, but... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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Obiora wonders aloud if there can ever be religion without oppression, or oppression without religion. Father Amadi banters with him and Amaka, but then points out Kambili, saying that she is quiet... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
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Father Amadi leaves, and Aunty Ifeoma tells Kambili to change into shorts before he comes back to... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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Father Amadi picks up Kambili and as they drive she is overwhelmed by his presence. She randomly... (full context)
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Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
They arrive at the stadium, and Father Amadi suggests they play before the boys arrive. Kambili admits that she doesn’t know any sports.... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Father Amadi asks Kambili if she knows how to smile, and he reaches over and tugs at... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
On the drive home Father Amadi plays a tape of Igbo worship songs. He says that enjoys playing with the boys,... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
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Father Amadi points out that Kambili hasn’t asked a single question. He says she should have learned... (full context)
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Father Amadi gives a clichéd answer at first, but when Kambili accepts it he tells her he... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...as Kambili is packing. She gives Kambili back her schedule. Kambili asks her to tell Father Amadi goodbye for her. Ifeoma has wiped away her tears and looks fearless once more. She... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
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Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
After Mama leaves, Kambili thinks about Father Amadi and her family in Nsukka. She takes Amaka’s painting of Papa-Nnukwu out of her bag,... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
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Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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...hibiscus stalks have been planted. He gives Kambili the phone, and she asks to give Father Amadi her greetings. Ifeoma says that Father Amadi asks about her and Jaja “all the time.” (full context)
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Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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When she is back in her room, Kambili thinks about Father Amadi and wonders if he really had been asking about her. She doodles the name “Father... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Kambili later wakes up to see Father Amadi leaning over her. She wonders if she is dreaming. She hears Aunty Ifeoma’s voice, saying... (full context)
Chapter 12
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...goes upstairs and Kambili is left alone with Amaka. Amaka tells Kambili that she is Father Amadi ’s “sweetheart” now, and he has been asking about her constantly. Amaka asks if Kambili... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
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The power goes off that evening, and Father Amadi comes over with some food. He hugs Kambili, and Kambili suddenly wishes that everyone else... (full context)
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That evening Father Amadi stops by, wanting to take them all to the stadium. The boys are busy playing... (full context)
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Father Amadi sits down next to Kambili and she comments on how much he believes in the... (full context)
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Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Father Amadi picks up Kambili and takes her to get her hair plaited. Mama Joe, the woman... (full context)
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...get her hair done unless he is in love. Kambili doesn’t know how to respond. Father Amadi picks her up and she thanks him. As they drive home Father Amadi suggests that... (full context)
Chapter 13
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...Agnes. The women don’t always cover their hair “properly,” and sometimes they even wear jeans. Father Amadi delivers the Eucharist and breaks into an Igbo song after the Lord’s prayer. The congregation... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Father Amadi drives them home afterward, and he reminds Amaka that she needs to choose a confirmation... (full context)
Chapter 14
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...left at the university. She has applied for an American visa. She also says that Father Amadi is leaving to do missionary work in Germany at the end of the month. (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
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Father Amadi comes to visit later, and Obiora points out that he visits more often when Kambili... (full context)
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Father Amadi asks Kambili what she is thinking about. She walks out to the garden, plucks some... (full context)
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Father Amadi walks over to Kambili and takes her hand, slipping a flower from her finger and... (full context)
Chapter 15
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
One day Father Amadi visits with a list of English names for Amaka to choose from for confirmation. He... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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...to go, and Obiora agrees to stay with him and Chima. Amaka is sure that Father Amadi won’t want to join, but he does. She says that it must be because of... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
...wants to linger, but Aunty Ifeoma says they should leave before the crowd. Amaka and Father Amadi tease each other, but neither will admit whether they thought the apparition was real or... (full context)
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Later Kambili goes with Father Amadi as he says his goodbyes to some families. After one visit, as they are getting... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Father Amadi visits on his last day in Nigeria. Obiora comments about the missionaries now coming from... (full context)
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Amaka comes out and laughs that Kambili must be having sex with Father Amadi , as he seems so “bright-eyed.” Kambili says that he will never leave the priesthood,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
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...is to laugh now. As they eat, Kambili watches a car below that looks like Father Amadi ’s. (full context)
Chapter 17
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...to visit. They sit and wait for Jaja, and Kambili thinks about her letters from Father Amadi , which she always carries with her. She and Father Amadi don’t talk about Papa,... (full context)