Purple Hibiscus

The novel’s narrator, a fifteen-year-old girl who is quiet and withdrawn, but an excellent student. She idolizes her father, Papa, even as she fears his violent punishments, and her worldview is based on his strict Catholic rules. After visiting Nsukka she slowly starts to talk and open up more, and falls in love with the young priest Father Amadi. She ultimately retains her Catholic faith, though a more liberal one based on that of Father Amadi and her Aunty Ifeoma.

Kambili Achike Quotes in Purple Hibiscus

The Purple Hibiscus quotes below are all either spoken by Kambili Achike or refer to Kambili Achike. 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 waited for him to ask Jaja and me to take a sip, as he always did. A love sip, he called it, because you shared the little things you loved with the people you loved. Have a love sip, he would say, and Jaja would go first. Then I would hold the cup with both hands and raise it to my lips. One sip. The tea was always too hot, always burned my tongue, and if lunch was something peppery, my raw tongue suffered. But it didn’t matter, because I knew that when the tea burned my tongue, it burned Papa’s love into me.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Jaja (Chukwuka Achike), Papa (Eugene Achike)
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat c

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Purple Hibiscus quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

Papa was staring pointedly at Jaja. “Jaja, have you not shared a drink with us, gbo? Have you no words in your mouth?” he asked, entirely in Igbo. A bad sign. He hardly spoke Igbo, and although Jaja and I spoke it with Mama at home, he did not like us to speak it in public. We had to sound civilized in public, he told us; we had to speak English. Papa’s sister, Aunty Ifeoma, said once that Papa was too much of a colonial product. She had said this about Papa in a mild, forgiving way, as if it were not Papa’s fault…
Mba, there are no words in my mouth,” Jaja replied.
“What?” There was a shadow clouding Papa’s eyes, a shadow that had been in Jaja’s eyes. Fear. It had left Jaja’s eyes and entered Papa’s.
“I have nothing to say,” Jaja said.

Related Characters: Papa (Eugene Achike) (speaker), Kambili Achike, Jaja (Chukwuka Achike)
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit es

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo con

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea comLoremLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veni

Chapter 4 Quotes

Papa changed his accent when he spoke, sounding British, just as he did when he spoke to Father Benedict. He was gracious, in the eager-to-please way that he always assumed with the religious, especially with the white religious.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike), Father Benedict
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 5 Quotes

“They are always so quiet,” he said, turning to Papa. “So quiet.”
“They are not like those loud children people are raising these days, with no home training and no fear of God,” Papa said, and I was certain that it was pride that stretched Papa’s lips and tightened his eyes.
“Imagine what the Standard would be if we were all quiet.”
It was a joke. Ade Coker was laughing; so was his wife, Yewanda. But Papa did not laugh. Jaja and I turned and went back upstairs, silently.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike) (speaker), Ade Coker (speaker), Jaja (Chukwuka Achike), Yewande Coker
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.Lorem ipLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 7 Quotes

Papa wanted Father Benedict to hear our confession. We had not gone in Abba because Papa did not like to make his confession in Igbo, and besides, Papa said that the parish priest in Abba was not spiritual enough. That was the problem with our people, Papa told us, our priorities were wrong; we cared too much about huge church buildings and mighty statues. You would never see white people doing that.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike), Father Benedict
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidat

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea coLorem iLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 10 Quotes

Amaka and Papa-Nnukwu spoke sometimes, their voices low, twining together. They understood each other, using the sparest words. Watching them, I felt a longing for something I knew I would never have.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Papa-Nnukwu, Amaka
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est labor

“Kambili, you are precious.” His voice quavered now, like someone speaking at a funeral, choked with emotion. “You should strive for perfection. You should not see sin and walk right into it.” He lowered the kettle into the tub, tilted it toward my feet. He poured the hot water on my feet, slowly, as if he were conducting an experiment and wanted to see what would happen. He was crying now, tears streaming down his face… I watched the water leave the kettle, flowing almost in slow motion in an arc to my feet. The pain of contact was so pure, so scalding, I felt nothing for a second. And then I screamed.
“That is what you do to yourself when you walk into sin. You burn your feet,” he said.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike) (speaker)
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolo

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitLoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deser

Chapter 11 Quotes

Ade Coker was at breakfast with his family when a courier delivered a package to him. His daughter, in her primary school uniform, was sitting across the table from him. The baby was nearby, in a high chair. His wife was spooning Cerelac into the baby’s mouth. Ade Coker was blown up when he opened the package—a package everybody would have known was from the Head of State even if his wife Yewande had not said that Ade Coker looked at the envelope and said “It has the State House seal” before he opened it.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Ade Coker, Yewande Coker, The Head of State (“Big Oga”)
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.LoremLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.LoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiu

Chapter 15 Quotes

The sun turned white, the color and shape of the host. And then I saw her, the Blessed Virgin: an image in the pale sun, a red glow on the back of my hand, a smile on the face of the rosary-bedecked man whose arm rubbed against mine. She was everywhere.

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker)
Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo conseq

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 16 Quotes

“I should have taken care of Mama. Look how Obiora balances Aunty Ifeoma’s family on his head, and I am older that he is. I should have taken care of Mama.”
“God knows best,” I said. “God works in mysterious ways.” And I thought how Papa would be proud that I had said that, how he would approve of my saying that.
Jaja laughed. It sounded like a series of snorts strung together. “Of course God does. Look what He did to his faithful servant Job, even to His own son. But have you ever wondered why? Why did He have to murder his own son so we would be saved? Why didn’t He just go ahead and save us?”

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Jaja (Chukwuka Achike) (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike), Mama (Beatrice Achike), Obiora
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolLoreLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cill

“I started putting the poison in his tea before I came to Nsukka. Sisi got it for me; her uncle is a powerful witch doctor.”
For a long, silent moment I could think of nothing… Then I thought of taking sips of Papa’s tea, love sips, the scalding liquid that burned his love onto my tongue. “Why did you put it in his tea?” I asked Mama, rising. My voice was loud. I was almost screaming. “Why in his tea?”

Related Characters: Kambili Achike (speaker), Mama (Beatrice Achike) (speaker), Papa (Eugene Achike), Sisi
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupi

Get the entire Purple Hibiscus LitChart as a printable PDF.
Purple hibiscus.pdf.medium

Kambili Achike Character Timeline in Purple Hibiscus

The timeline below shows where the character Kambili Achike appears in Purple Hibiscus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
The narrator, a 15-year-old girl named Kambili Achike, who lives in Enugu, Nigeria, says that “things started to fall apart” in her... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili explains what happened before this scene. She describes Papa’s fierce devotion to Catholic tradition and... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
During this praise Papa’s face remains emotionless, and Kambili remembers his decree that modesty is important, so she also tries to hide her pride.... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...flings his missal at the étagère and breaks the small ceramic figurines of ballet dancers. Kambili’s mother, Beatrice (Mama), comes in and immediately starts picking up the pieces of the figurines.... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Jaja helps Mama pick up the pieces of the figurines, and Kambili feels like she is in a nightmare because everything is so different from how it... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
None of the usual Sunday routines take place: Mama doesn’t plait Kambili’s hair in the kitchen and Jaja doesn’t go upstairs to his room to read. Kambili... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...title he invented. Sisi, the family’s servant, brings in the food and they eat, though Kambili cannot taste anything because she is so stressed. Sisi brings in the new batch of... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...bad sign—Papa prefers everyone in 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... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
That evening Kambili stays in bed and doesn’t go to dinner. Papa sits with her a while, and... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Mama leaves, and Kambili remembers what started all this change. There were many years when she and Jaja and... (full context)
Chapter 2
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Kambili’s narration now jumps months back in time to describe the events leading up to Palm... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Mama tells Kambili that she is pregnant, and the baby is due in October. Mama is pleased with... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...he was voted “neatest junior boy” at school, which pleased Papa greatly. Jaja goes to Kambili’s room and the two talk about Mama’s pregnancy. They speak in a kind of special... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Jaja goes downstairs and Kambili looks at the written schedule posted on her wall. Papa makes a daily schedule for... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...other papers all praise the new leader for saving the country from the corrupt politicians. Kambili says “God will deliver us,” hoping to please Papa, and he takes her hand. (full context)
Chapter 3
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
In the weeks after the coup Kambili notices some changes in the outside world. The Standard grows more critical, while the other... (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
Nothing changes inside the Achike household, however. Jaja and Kambili stick to their strict schedules, while Mama’s pregnancy progresses. At Mass on Pentecost Sunday there... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...get home Mama offers to pour Papa’s tea, but he refuses. He gives Jaja and Kambili their “love sips” of the tea. Kambili is happy to “feel the love burn my... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Mama, Jaja, and Kambili then go upstairs to change. The children are scheduled to quietly reflect on a Bible... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
After lunch Kambili is reading the Bible when she hears thumping sounds from her parents’ room. Kambili imagines... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Mama doesn’t come home that night, and Jaja and Kambili have dinner alone. They don’t talk about Mama, but instead talk about the three men... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...hugging herself for a while, and then starts polishing the ceramic figurines on the étagère. Kambili tries to help her, but Mama insists that she go up to her room and... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...recite, trying hard to get the words right so Papa doesn’t make them start over. Kambili tries not to think about what Mama might need to be forgiven for. (full context)
Chapter 4
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
It remains difficult for Kambili to read, even though her exams are approaching, as she keeps seeing Mama’s blood in... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
The next week Kambili takes her exams, and then is horrified to see that she has come second in... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Kambili gets home and goes to her room. She hears Papa come home and go into... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili is terrified to look at Papa as they eat, and she can hardly swallow her... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...is a two-week break from school, and on the last weekend Mama takes Jaja and Kambili to get new sandals and bags. Kambili notices the crowds of the poor at the... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
On Monday Papa drives Kambili to school, instead of Kevin taking her as he usually does. They pass a beggar... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
They go into the school grounds and Papa asks Kambili to take him to her class. One of the white nuns sees him and starts... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Papa asks Kambili to point out Chinwe Jideze for him. Papa says that Chinwe does not have any... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...the Nigerian national anthem. Then a student always recites the pledge. Today the sister chooses Kambili to say it. Kambili knows the words, but she cannot make herself speak. She starts... (full context)
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
The students go into their classrooms and a girl named Ezinne asks Kambili about her holiday. She brings up the fact that Kambili came in second last term,... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Ezinne tells Kambili that Chinwe started the rumor that Kambili is a “backyard snob” and that she thinks... (full context)
Chapter 5
Family Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Kambili continues to see Mama’s blood when she tries to read, but she studies constantly and... (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
...the way to their own home in Lagos. Ade is small, round, and cheerful, and Kambili cannot imagine him defying soldiers. Ade jokes with Jaja and Kambili, but they only answer... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
The next morning Jaja and Kambili wake up early to the sounds of bleating goats and people calling greetings to each... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Papa tells Jaja and Kambili that they will visit Papa-Nnukwu today, but only for fifteen minutes, and not to eat... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...happily, half-jokingly offering them food even though he knows they are forbidden to eat there. Kambili examines him for “signs of Godlessness,” and though she cannot see any she is sure... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Jaja and Kambili ask about his health, and Papa-Nnukwu says that their Aunty Ifeoma brings him medicine when... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Papa-Nnukwu eats, and Kambili watches him swallow with difficulty. He offers to buy them soft drinks, saying that they... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili remembers how Papa used to treat Mama’s father, their Grandfather, in an entirely different way.... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
The children come home and Kambili asks Jaja if he will confess about offering to drink in Papa-Nnukwu’s house. Jaja says... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Kambili and Jaja then hear Papa yelling outside. He is angry that a “worshiper of idols,”... (full context)
Chapter 6
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...as tall as Papa is, and walks and speaks quickly and with purpose. She hugs Kambili and teases her, but Kambili only knows to be polite and quiet. Ifeoma says that... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...no gas. Mama offers to give her gas cylinders from Papa’s factory, but Ifeoma declines. Kambili watches Aunty Ifeoma, mesmerized by the “fearlessness” of her speech and movements. (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Papa comes in and Aunty Ifeoma tells him that Jaja and Kambili should spend time with her tomorrow. Kambili feels a strange fear when Ifeoma speaks to... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...then seven-year-old Chima. Papa greets them and gives them all money. Amaka immediately starts questioning Kambili about the expensive satellite TV, asking if they can watch CNN. Kambili nervously coughs an... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili finally says that they don’t watch TV, and Amaka is shocked. She thinks that it’s... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The next morning Aunty Ifeoma drives in to pick up Jaja and Kambili. She suggests that Kambili wear trousers, and Kambili doesn’t admit that she doesn’t own any... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
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 won’t go in, and Kambili says... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...and people dressed as mmuo, or spirits, parade past while hawkers sell food and drinks. Kambili nervously thinks that it all seems like what Papa would call “devilish folklore.” (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...look away as a particularly powerful one passes, wearing a skull, grass, and dead animals. Kambili looks away as told, but feels guilty about “deferring to a heathen masquerade.” Jaja asks... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
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 night Kambili dreams of herself... (full context)
Chapter 7
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Ifeoma and her children. Ifeoma and Amaka are both wearing bright red lipstick. During Mass Kambili thinks about that lipstick, and imagines wearing it herself. At Mass the priest doesn’t discuss... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...(large extended family in the village) are cooking huge amounts of food in the backyard. Kambili goes upstairs, and while she is changing she hears her cousins and Aunty Ifeoma arrive.... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...royalty) has arrived to visit Papa, and so the family goes downstairs to greet him. Kambili remembers the last time they had visited the Igwe’s palace, and Mama had greeted him... (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
...go off to discuss a book, and Chima and Obiora play a card game, laughing. Kambili stands outside Mama’s door, listening to her whisper to Aunty Ifeoma, trying to convince her... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka catches Kambili eavesdropping but doesn’t say anything. She tells her that Papa has come up to have... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...Papa’s factories make. Amaka tries it and politely suggests that Papa make it less sweet. Kambili is so nervous that she knocks over her glass. Amaka keeps talking to Papa, asking... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
The next day is Sunday, and the family plans to go to early Mass. Kambili wakes up and sees that her period has started. She showers and dresses, making sure... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Jaja makes Kambili a bowl of cereal, saying that they will hear Papa before he comes upstairs. Kambili... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...even what seems spoiled. As they drive away, the gate man waves at them, and Kambili remembers him telling them that Papa had paid for his children’s school and helped get... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Papa, Mama, and then Jaja go in. Kambili asks Jaja with her eyes if he remembered his words to Papa-Nnukwu about offering to... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...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 that the sightings of the Virgin... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Jaja and Kambili pack their things, and Mama suggests that they bring food and gas cylinders from the... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...two gas cylinders in the car, along with lots of food. Papa gives Jaja and Kambili schedules for their time in Nsukka. They include two hours each day for “time with... (full context)
Chapter 8
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
As Kevin drives them Kambili notices all the burned and broken cars on the side of the road. At the... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...riddled with potholes. They come to the University of Nigeria, where Kevin asks for directions. Kambili and Jaja notice a statue of a lion on the university lawn, with the motto... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Aunty Ifeoma comes out and hugs Jaja and Kambili, and is delighted to see the food and gas cylinders, which she knows came because... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kevin comes inside to say he is leaving. Kambili has a sudden urge to run after him and ask him to take her back,... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka starts to change and talks to Kambili, who sits nervously on her bed. Amaka says that Nsukka is boring compared to Enugu,... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka turns on some music, saying that her sound system must be nothing compared to Kambili’s. Amaka says that she likes “culturally conscious” indigenous musicians like Fela, not American pop like... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Amaka and Kambili return to the kitchen and then they all sit down on the mismatched chairs at... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
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 foreign atmosphere of freedom. Aunty... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
The phone rings, and it is Papa. Kambili speaks to him, and he says that the house feels empty without them, and he... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Aunty Ifeoma says that Jaja and Kambili can stay up as long as they want watching TV. Jaja pulls out his schedule... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka asks if Jaja and Kambili have schedules at home as well. When they say yes, she says it’s interesting that... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Afterwards Aunty Ifeoma goes to bed and the cousins keep watching TV. Kambili feels like her “real self” is still studying in Enugu, while her “shadow” is here... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
The next morning Amaka wakes up Kambili to fill up their containers of water while the water is still running. Jaja is... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...take turns bathing and then Aunty Ifeoma makes a breakfast that seems paltry compared to Kambili’s usual one. Ifeoma wants to show Jaja and Kambili the university and be back for... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...the ignition when going downhill. She shows them the different university buildings, and suggests that Kambili might go there one day. Kambili realizes that she has never thought about university, and... (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
Violence Theme Icon
...that from the top you can see how God laid out the hills of Nsukka. Kambili imagines God laying out the hills with his white hands, which look like Father Benedict’s.... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...selling fruits. Ifeoma gives Amaka some money and Amaka bargains for the fruits she wants. Kambili watches her, wondering what it would feel like to do such a thing. (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Back 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... (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... (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
...the truth, and says that he heard that Amnesty World is giving Eugene an award. Kambili feels a rush of pride, and wants Father Amadi (“this handsome priest”) to associate her... (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
...says that she had to use the pilgrimage to Aokpe to convince him to let Kambili and Jaja visit. She says she hadn’t planned on going to Aokpe, but that she... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...laughs. After dinner they say the rosary, and Father Amadi sings an Igbo praise song. Kambili wants to sing along, but she determinedly keeps her mouth shut. Afterward they watch TV,... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...a part in keeping the flat very clean. When plate washing one day, Amaka mocks Kambili’s way of washing dishes, and again brings up her “fancy schedule.” The two don’t speak... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
That evening as Kambili sets the table, she hears Amaka asking Aunty Ifeoma if Kambili and Jaja are “abnormal.”... (full context)
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Aunty Ifeoma asks Kambili to join them in the garden, and she talks to Kambili about the beauty of... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Kambili sits on the veranda with the book and watches a little girl chase a butterfly.... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Jaja makes a comment about the British losing many battles before their overall victory, and Kambili is amazed that he speaks so easily. She wonders why he doesn’t stutter and stay... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...it. Aunty Ifeoma quickly says that Jaja had an “accident,” and she sends Chima away. Kambili meets Ifeoma’s eyes and realizes that she knows what happened to Jaja’s finger. When he... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
The phone rings. Kambili answers, and it is Mama calling to say that soldiers found the offices of the... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
The phone rings early the next morning, and Kambili is worried that it is bad news about Papa being killed. Aunty Ifeoma answers, but... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...is upset that her mother didn’t tell her earlier, but Obiora remains calm and collected. Kambili notices (as she has many times by now) that he seems older than Jaja. Ifeoma... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
That night prayers are more subdued, and Kambili wonders where Papa-Nnukwu will sleep when he arrives. She prays that Papa won’t find out... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...He does it, and Father Amadi praises him, saying that it is a useful skill. Kambili admires Father Amadi’s smile. Aunty Ifeoma emerges wearing black. She thanks Father Amadi and then... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...neighbor, and Amaka goes into her room to listen to her “culturally conscious” musicians, which Kambili can recognize now. Jaja works in the garden. Kambili asks him, whispering, if he thinks... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Aunty Ifeoma returns that afternoon with Papa-Nnukwu. He seems tired and greets Kambili weakly. Amaka and Obiora help Papa-Nnukwu into the flat and into Amaka’s room. They offer... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...own small clinic since the strike. Later the doctor arrives and examines Papa-Nnukwu. Jaja and Kambili sit on the verandah. Jaja is concerned with Papa-Nnukwu’s health, while Kambili is concerned with... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Kambili is surprised at Jaja’s tone, as if he doesn’t care whether Papa finds out or... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...dog finds out, and the tortoise falls down, cracking his shell. Everyone laughs except for Kambili. (full context)
Chapter 10
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...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 is wearing his priestly robes today, but... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...take Jaja and Obiora to the stadium that evening to play soccer. He asks about Kambili, and she feels grateful to hear him say her name. He drives off. Kambili goes... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili goes into the kitchen. Aunty Ifeoma notices that she is crying, but Kambili says that... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The next morning Aunty Ifeoma wakes Kambili up to watch Papa-Nnukwu perform his “declaration of innocence” rite. He is on the verandah,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...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 own lack... (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... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...or oppression without religion. Father Amadi banters with him and Amaka, but then points out Kambili, saying that she is quiet but there is a lot going on in her head.... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Father Amadi leaves, and Aunty Ifeoma tells Kambili to change into shorts before he comes back to pick her up. Kambili says she... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Father Amadi picks up Kambili and as they drive she is overwhelmed by his presence. She randomly admits that she... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
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. Father Amadi stands up and tells Kambili to... (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 her lips.... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...He says that enjoys playing with the boys, as he sees “Christ in their faces.” Kambili can only imagine the face of the blond Christ at St. Agnes. Father Amadi sings... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Father Amadi points out that Kambili hasn’t asked a single question. He says she should have learned how from Amaka, and... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Father Amadi gives a clichéd answer at first, but when Kambili accepts it he tells her he was joking. He says that he had many questions... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
When Kambili gets home, Aunty Ifeoma says that Papa called. He had learned from someone in Abba... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The next morning Amaka wakes up Kambili and they go to wake Papa-Nnukwu. They shake him but he doesn’t stir. Amaka panics... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Obiora cries quietly to himself, knowing that he is now the “man of the house.” Kambili tries to go into the bathroom, but Amaka is locked inside, crying. Her crying is... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...administrative staff was 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... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...he would be alive now if everyone at the medical center was not on strike. Kambili wants to be angry and tearful with her, but she knows that Papa-Nnukwu was not... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Obiora then says that “Uncle Eugene” has just parked outside the flat. Kambili suddenly freezes. Papa comes inside and Kambili and Jaja greet him mechanically. Aunty Ifeoma says... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Papa gathers Kambili and Jaja to him, kissing their heads, and he tells them to get their things.... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...some money to buy Chima a present. Amaka presses something wrapped in black cellophane into Kambili’s hands, and Kambili sees that it is the unfinished painting of Papa-Nnukwu. She hides it... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...children for their “sin of omission” of not telling him about Papa-Nnukwu. As they eat Kambili notices how much meat they all have compared to at Aunty Ifeoma’s house. Jaja asks... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...year. Papa makes the final decision, but he usually chooses Mama’s favorite shade of beige. Kambili comments that Mama has polished the figurines on the étagère. Mama says that she did... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Papa calls for Kambili to come upstairs. She hesitates, but Mama tells her to go. Papa is in the... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Papa starts to pour boiling water on Kambili’s feet. Kambili screams, and Papa tells her that when she walks into sin, she burns... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
The next day Kambili tells Jaja about the painting. Neither of them mention their feet. Jaja says that he... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...Just then, Ade Coker arrives with another man and Papa leaves the table. Jaja and Kambili try to hear what they are talking about. Ade says that the head of state... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
At dinner the next few days Papa’s hands seem to be shaking. Kambili wants to talk about the many people coming to the house, but Jaja looks away... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka comes to the phone and talks to Kambili, sounding friendlier than usual. Kambili thanks her for the painting, and Amaka talks about Papa-Nnukwu’s... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
When she is back in her room, Kambili thinks about Father Amadi and wonders if he really had been asking about her. She... (full context)
Chapter 11
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...when he opens it at the breakfast table with his family he is blown up. Kambili and Jaja come home that day to find Papa sobbing on the sofa, looking small... (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
...shut down the factory, claiming unsanitary conditions. Papa doesn’t check very often that Jaja and Kambili are following their schedules, so they spend more time together. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
One day when Papa is with Father Benedict, Jaja comes into Kambili’s room and asks to see the painting of Papa-Nnukwu. Kambili nervously takes it out. Jaja... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Papa comes in and sees the painting. Jaja and Kambili both claim that the painting is theirs, and Papa starts to sway back and forth... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Kambili wakes up in the hospital. Mama is there, crying gratefully that Kambili is awake. Kambili’s... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Kambili later wakes up to see Father Amadi leaning over her. She wonders if she is... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Papa picks out a private tutor for Kambili, and she comes to the hospital the following week. She is a young white nun,... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Kambili’s class comes to visit her. Chinwe Jideze gives her a card and talks to her... (full context)
Chapter 12
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Kambili arrives at Aunty Ifeoma’s house and everyone treats her gingerly, as if she was still... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Aunty Ifeoma goes upstairs and Kambili is left alone with Amaka. Amaka tells Kambili that she is Father Amadi’s “sweetheart” now,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Amaka then asks if Papa was the one who hurt Kambili. Amaka says her mother didn’t tell her, but she could guess. Kambili says yes, it... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...power goes off that evening, and Father Amadi comes over with some food. He hugs Kambili, and Kambili suddenly wishes that everyone else would disappear for a while. A neighbor brings... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
The next day Kambili wakes up late to see Aunty Ifeoma on the verandah with another female professor. They... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka and Obiora tell Kambili more about the sole administrator. Obiora says the university is now a “microcosm of the... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...however, and Amaka jokes that Father Amadi wants to be alone with his “sweetheart,” so Kambili is the only one who goes. They get to the stadium and Father Amadi coaches... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Father Amadi sits down next to Kambili and she comments on how much he believes in the boys he coaches. Father Amadi... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
The next morning Kambili and Amaka wake up early, sensing that something is wrong. Aunty Ifeoma is on the... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...six university cars. The university is closed until further notice. During her nap that day Kambili dreams that the sole administrator is pouring boiling water on Aunty Ifeoma’s feet. Then Ifeoma... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...that running away won’t solve anything. Ifeoma finally snaps at them to help clean, and Kambili notices that it’s the first time she hasn’t looked on proudly as they debate. (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Kambili goes to take a bath but there is an earthworm in the tub. She throws... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Aunty Ifeoma tells Obiora to kill the chicken, but Jaja offers to do it instead. Kambili is shocked, as Jaja has never killed a chicken before. She follows him into the... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Father Amadi picks up Kambili and takes her to get her hair plaited. Mama Joe, the woman who does Aunty... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Mama Joe finishes Kambili’s hair and she admires it in the mirror. Mama Joe assures her that a man... (full context)
Chapter 13
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka and Kambili go to Mass at their local church. It is much plainer than St. Agnes. The... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Amaka tells Kambili about the times Aunty Ifeoma has slapped them for misbehaving. She says that afterwards Ifeoma... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...the freezer, as meat has started to go bad because of all the power outages. Kambili and Amaka go through a bag of rice, picking out stones and dirt, and Kambili... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...down on the floor and says that Ifeoma has come with her “university talk” again. Kambili has never seen her mother say so much or so candidly. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
After Mama and Aunty Ifeoma go to bed, Kambili plays cards with Amaka and Obiora. Amaka says that Papa isn’t a bad man, he... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Papa arrives the next day to pick up Mama, Jaja, and Kambili. He hugs them all, and Kambili notices that he has a strange rash on his... (full context)
Chapter 14
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
Later Kambili goes to Jaja’s room, and he moves his desk to let her in. They discuss... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...shaking. He decides to go to the evening Mass instead of the usual morning one. Kambili remembers one Good Friday when she kissed the cross and wept, and how Papa was... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili is horrified by this news. She calls for Jaja, who talks to Aunty Ifeoma. When... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...a hastily packed bag and says that Papa has agreed to let Kevin drive them. Kambili goes into Papa’s room and hugs him goodbye. He kisses her forehead and promises to... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...visa or not, and whether they should splurge on commodities in their last few weeks. Kambili starts to cough from the smoke of the oil, and Amaka sends her out to... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili feels sad as they stand and eat on the verandah, thinking about Aunty Ifeoma’s family... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
...Amadi comes to visit later, and Obiora points out that he visits more often when Kambili is there. He comes inside and greets them all. Amaka starts to joke with him... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Father Amadi asks Kambili what she is thinking about. She walks out to the garden, plucks some small yellow... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Father Amadi walks over to Kambili and takes her hand, slipping a flower from her finger and putting it on his... (full context)
Chapter 15
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...won’t want to join, but he does. She says that it must be because of Kambili. Ifeoma drives the two hours to the village, and Father Amadi and Amaka sing in... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
...emerges from the crowd, and as she walks past the tree seems to shake. Suddenly Kambili sees the Virgin everywhere: in the sun, on her hand, in a stranger’s smile. (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Kambili wants to linger, but Aunty Ifeoma says they should leave before the crowd. Amaka and... (full context)
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Later Kambili goes with Father Amadi as he says his goodbyes to some families. After one visit,... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
When Kambili gets home, Aunty Ifeoma asks her what is wrong, but Kambili won’t say. Aunty Ifeoma... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...to help buy the plane tickets, so they will go to Enugu with Jaja and Kambili soon and stay there until they leave. Ifeoma tells Jaja and Kambili that she will... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
...comments about the missionaries now coming from “darkest Africa” to reconvert Europe. Father Amadi asks Kambili to spend a last hour with him, but she refuses, suddenly angry that he is... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Amaka comes out and laughs that Kambili must be having sex with Father Amadi, as he seems so “bright-eyed.” Kambili says that... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...then start to climb. Suddenly Amaka starts running, and Jaja and Chima run after her. Kambili joins them, and she sprints past the boys, reaching the top at the same time... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...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 was found dead at his... (full context)
Chapter 16
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
They all go to Enugu. Kambili and Jaja sit in the living room, staring at the spot where the étagère and... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...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 to... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...in his tea since before she came to Nsukka. Sisi helped her get the poison. Kambili’s mind goes blank, and then she thinks of Papa’s tea and his “love sips.” She... (full context)
Chapter 17
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
It is three years later, and Kambili is familiar with the route to the prison, where she and Mama go to visit... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Violence Theme Icon
...of Papa’s death, claiming that the old regime assassinated him. The family’s lawyers recently informed Kambili and Mama that Jaja will be released next week. Kambili and Mama don’t talk about... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Kambili and Mama don’t talk about anything anymore, including the bribes they’ve written on Jaja’s behalf,... (full context)
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
A month earlier, Kambili had gone to Nsukka, even though she doesn’t know anyone there anymore. She visited Aunty... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...Ifeoma sends cassette tapes of her family’s voices to Jaja. Sometimes he plays them when Kambili visits. Ifeoma writes to Kambili and Mama, and talks about her two jobs at a... (full context)
Colonialism and Nigerian Politics Theme Icon
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
...the bribe of money they’ve hidden in the bag of food. He leads Mama and Kambili inside and gives them an hour to visit. They sit and wait for Jaja, and... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
...hug Jaja because he doesn’t like them to. He greets them and starts to eat. Kambili tells him that he will be getting out next week. Jaja stares at her. His... (full context)
Religion and Belief Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
A silence hangs over them, but it is a “different kind of silence” now, and Kambili can breathe comfortably. She still has nightmares about the old silence of the house when... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom vs. Tyranny Theme Icon
Silence and Speech Theme Icon
Jaja points out that Mama’s scarf has come undone. Kambili is amazed, as usually he doesn’t notice anything about them. The guard comes in and... (full context)