PATRICK VIEW-DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S PURPLE HIBISCUS

PATRICK VIEW-DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S PURPLE HIBISCUS

 

DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence

According to Wikipedia
Domestic violence (also named domestic abuse or family violence) is violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. It may be termed intimate partner violence when committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners.
Domestic violence can also involve violence against children, parents, or the elderly.

FORM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
According to Wikipedia, domestic violence takes different form which include

  1. physical abuse
  2. emotional/psychological abuse
  3. sexual abuse
  4. social abuse
  5. financial abuse

 

Based on my writing am going to focus on the two form of domestic violence’s recorded on the novel. Which include:
1. Physical abuse
2. Emotional/psychological abuse
For more info about the other forms of domestic violence (sexual abuse, social abuse and financial abuse) you can check using the link below:

https://patrickrealstories.wordpress.com/2019/09/29/patrick-view-domestic-violence

Here goes the meaning of physical and emotional/psychological abuse.

1.  PHYSICAL ABUSE
Physical abuse often begins with less violent assaults such as pushing. As the abuse continues, however, it becomes increasingly violent. Abusers often target areas of the body that are usually covered with clothing because the injuries are less likely to be visible to others. Acts of physical abuse include:

  • Pushing
  • Restraining
  • Shaking
  • Slapping
  • Biting
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Throwing objects at the victim
  • beating
  • Using weapons
  • Strangulation
  • Withholding medications
  • Attempting to force miscarriage
  • Scratching
  • Biting
  • Pulling hair
  • Refuse to help when sick, injured or disabled
  • Using or threatening to use weapons

2. EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE
Emotional/psychological abuse is a tool used by those who want to make their partners feel scared, crazy, worthless, or responsible for the abuse. The abuser’s goal is control over the victim. Emotional abuse may include:

  • Making jokes about the victim
  • Insults
  • Criticizing the victim’s competence
  • Ignoring the victim’s feelings
  • Withholding affection as a form of punishment
  • Blaming the victim for all problems
  • Yelling at the victim
  • Humiliating the victim in front of others
  • Accusing the victim of being the abusive partner
  • Threatening to take the children away from the victim
  • Threatening physical violence
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Hiding or destroying important belongings
  • Frequent demands to know where she is and with whom
  • Alienation/Separation from family and friends
  • Public humiliation

 

A REVIEW ON THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- PHYSICAL ABUSE IN THE NOVEL “PURPLE HIBISCUS”

The novel Purple Hibiscus introduce a central conflict right at the beginning. Here Eugene, who sees himself as a devout catholic sets a standard in his house that does not allow for any errors. Rules on appropriate behaviour at home and outside the home are set. When a rules is violated contrary to his standard, Eugene reacts by acts of violence in which his wife is the principal recipient or focus.
An instance in the novel is when his wife is reluctant/or refuses to visit the priest after mass because of her pregnant status, beats her up, despite her pregnancy status. Kambili describes the scene thus:
“”””” I was in my room after lunch, reading James chapter five, when I heard the sounds. Swift, heavy thuds on my parent‘s hand-carved bedroom door I imagined the door had gotten stuck and Papa was trying to open it. If I imagined it hard enough, then it would be true. I sat down, closed my eyes, and started to count. Counting made it seem not that long, made it seem not that bad. Sometimes it was over before I even got to twenty. I was at nineteen when the sounds stopped. I heard the door open. Papa gait on the stairs sounded heavier, more awkward than usual […] Mama was slung over his shoulder like the jute sacks of rice his factory workers bought in bulk at the Seme border. (PH, 32-33) “””””

Kambili gives vivid description of what transpires when she continues, We cleaned up the trickle of blood, which trailed away as if someone had carried a leaking jar of red watercolor all the way downstairs. Jaja scrubbed while I wiped (PH, 33).
Afterwards Eugene asked the children to recite sixteen different novenas for Mama‘s forgiveness.
Kambili‘s narration of the violence that goes on in their home is something not too good for a child of her age and she portrays her daily life which entails/embrace a constant witnessing and experience of psycho-physical violence. Here she says:

”””Counting made it seem not that long, made it seem not that bad. Sometimes it was over before I even got to twenty (PH,33). ”””

His wife, Beatrice’s polishing of the étagère was her way of containing her emotional and psychological abuse after each physical assault/abuse (beating, kicking, punching).

In these moments, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel describes most of the causes of the domestic violence is as a result of the misuse of  patriarchal power and control that Eugene uses in the family.

Eugene uses power over his wife and children to make them to be submissive toward him. The wife‘s subordinate position as a full time house wife with no educational background or money of her own makes it easy for her husband to perpetuate violence against her and their children without her making any effort to stop the violence or report it for fear of losing her marriage and her source of dependence.

The oppression faced by Beatrice, (Eugene‘s wife) is manifested in the control her husband has over her, the unkind way he treats her, the violence melted out on her and the children and her inability to do anything about it.

Through the Achike‘s family, Adichie portrays the problem of intimate partner violence and domestic violence as it happens in the Nigerian Society. She also gives an insight into why it thrives using the character of Beatrice, Eugene‘s wife.
From the beginning of her marriage to Eugene, Beatrice learnt to suffer in silence as defence mechanism against further violence from her husband. Instead, she polishes the figurines in the living room to grieve. In the words of Kambili, this is what she said:

“”””” Years before I understood, I used to wonder why she polish them each time I heard the sounds from their room, like something being banged against the door…There were never tears on her face. The last time, only two weeks ago, when her swollen eye was still the black-purple colour of an overripe avocado, she had rearranged them after she polished them‘(PH, 10). “””””

Of all the accounts of intimate partner violence/marital violence recorded in the African novel, none has been described as brutal or as sadistic as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s in PURPLE HIBISCUS, especially because of its realistic and narrative point of view. The dynamics of domestic violence is treated as the main theme of this text PURPLE HIBISCUS.
From the novel, Beatrice attached much attention to marriage, she sees it as something she can’t do without, these lead to her inability to do anything about the daily domestic violence she received. Instead, she kept silence and she endured and allow herself to be beaten by her husband Eugene.
Despite her husband‘s violence against her and the children, Jaja and Kambili, Beatrice refuses to leave, clinging to her view of marriage as sacred and her only way of existence. In a conversation with Aunty Ifeoma, Beatrice point of view about marriage is the most important in her life becomes very clear in a discussion with Aunty Ifeoma, her sister- in –law. She says:

’’’’A husband crowns a woman‘s life‘(PH, 75).’’’’

Her sister-in-law Aunty Ifeoma who pleads Beatrice to leave Eugene before it is too late says:
“”””This cannot go on, nwunye m,” Aunty Ifeoma said. “When a house is on fire, you run out before the roof collapses on your head. (PH, 213). “”””

 

A REVIEW ON THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- EMOTIONAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE IN THE NOVEL “PURPLE HIBISCUS”

Psychological violence is experienced in Eugene‘s home at the beginning of the novel. Emotional/psychological abuse affected the Eugene children and his wife Beatrice.

Here in the novel, emotional and psychological abuse that is been observed is the narration given by Beatrice on her experiences to Aunty Ifeoma, her sister in-law, who lives in Nsukka:

“”””” I got back from the hospital today. The doctor told me to rest but I took Eugene‘s money and asked Kevin to take me to the Park. I hired a taxi and came here… You know that small table where we keep the family Bible? [Eugene] broke it on my belly. My blood finished on that floor even before he took me to St. Agnes [Hospital]. My doctor said there was nothing he could do to save [the pregnancy]… (PH, 248). “””””
In this incident, Eugene beats his pregnant wife to the point of miscarriage over a domestic dispute. Her inability to bear more children in the marriage she attributes to the constant beating and subsequent miscarriages that follows each beating by her husband (Eugene).

From the novel, Kambili had a fear to speak out. She chokes several times in unsuccessful attempts to speak, as her body becomes part of violence and silence and therefore she experience trauma each day.

Kambili’s body is a site of critical silence made visible by the constant choking and inability to speak at crucial moments. Kambili ordinary life is illuminated through the act of violence, silence and wounded bodies that show a long-suffering and traumatized existence.

Scars, left behind by inflictions of punishments, like Jaja’s crooked finger and Mama’s (Beatrice) awkward limp are evidence of the act of violence carried out by Eugene in their household.
Father‘s expectations demand absolute perfection and anything less provokes his unpredictable rage and cruel punishments. Kambili summarizes their everyday existence as;

“”””” Our steps on the stairs were as measured and as silent as our Sundays: the silence of waiting until Papa was done with his siesta so we could have lunch; the silence of reflection time, when Papa gave us a scripture passage or book by one of the early church fathers to read and meditate on; the silence of the evening rosary; the silence of driving to the church for benediction afterward. (PH, 31) “”””””

Kimbali and Beatrice as well as Jaja for some time experience high amounts of stress, fear, and anxiety while living with their perpetrator (Eugene)
Kambili’s case is confounded by her reliving the pain of an inner journey through the traumatic event, and by her inability to witness, as she listens to the pounding in her parents’ bedroom which she safely describe to the idea that her father was finding it difficult to open the door.

Later, in one of the significant moments of self-reflection, Kambili concludes, I did not think, I did not even think to think, what Mama needed to be forgiven for. (PH, 36).

Kambili‘s narration of the violence that goes on in their home is something not too good for a child of her age and portrays her daily life which entails/embrace a constant witnessing and experience of psycho-physical violence. Here she says:
“”””” Counting made it seem not that long, made it seem not that bad. Sometimes it was over before I even got to twenty (PH, 33). “””””
From the beginning of her marriage to Eugene, Beatrice learnt to suffer in silence as defence mechanism against further violence from her husband. Instead, she polishes the figurines in the living room to grieve. In the words of Kambili, this is what she said:

“”””” Years before I understood, I used to wonder why she polish them each time I heard the sounds from their room, like something being banged against the door…There were never tears on her face. The last time, only two weeks ago, when her swollen eye was still the black-purple colour of an overripe avocado, she had rearranged them after she polished them‘(PH, 10). “””””

Depression is also common and also part of the emotional abuse/psychological the victims are made to feel guilty for ‘provoking’ the abuse and are frequently subjected to intense criticism as this could be vividly seen in the novel when it became too unbearable and led to the poisoning of Eugene by Beatrice. The sense of guilt prompted Jaja to take full responsibility for his father’s death and this landed him in the prison walls for three years. (209 • both she and Jaja claim responsibility • Papa rips up the picture. • Kambili hugs painting as she is kicked and beaten by Papa • She wakes up in hospital with broken ribs •)

Eugene who is a violent man in Achike household, subjected his wife Beatrice, Kambili his daughter, and his son Jaja to beatings and psychological abuse.

(•MAMA’S FINAL BEATING p. 247-8 • Mama arrives in Nsukka in slippers • She takes Eugene’s money • He had broken the family Bible on her belly • “My blood finished on that floor before he took me to St Agnes. My doctor said there was nothing he could do to save it.” • She was 6 weeks pregnant and had not told Eugene • her act of coming to Nsukka – shows increased resistance on her part. • )

 

CONCLUSION

The titled DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE‘S PURPLE HIBISCUS examines the act of domestic violence in the novel. It has been established that since the post-colonial era in Nigeria, various voices of women expressing their concerns about the subjugation of women and other issues affecting the growth of the Nigerian female have been heard.

In chimamanda ngozi adichie‘s writings, it is established that patriarchy is an ideology that seeks to show that a woman‘s main purpose in life was to be a mother and a wife and this categorization affects different women regardless their educational status.

In Purple Hibiscus Adichie presents a complex rather than simple view of her characters. She effectively works to kick against the image of African women as a stereotypical group of hard-working, powerless and self-sacrificing victims in their subordinate positions.

In Purple Hibiscus through the character of Beatrice, she paints a picture of an African woman that is burdened by patriarchy and illiteracy. Unable to redefine herself or stand up for her rights, she finally resorts to murdering her husband, Eugene, to liberate herself and her victimized or violated children. Her inability to stand up for herself early enough in the novel leads to the tragedy of her husband‘s death and imprisonment of her son‘s.

In the novel, Beatrice experience such abuse due to her financial dependent on Eugene and lack of exposure to western education. Adichie illustrates that the only difference is that the Western educated women are able to free themselves from this abuse quickly because of their ability to stand on their rights  as seen in the characters of Ifeoma, Olanna and Kainene. Therefore, women‘s education  are emphasized as means of women‘s empowerment and growth.

The novel clearly argues that Nigerian women are oppressed, exploited and degraded by a mix of traditional cultures and the modern forms of patriarchy.

Violence against women in the novel is one of the primary forms of oppression, traditions, illiteracy, and religious intolerance are core challenges that the Nigerian women still face.

Adichie challenges women to have a voice so as to confront their oppressors. Silence was a tool used by Beatrice and her children which lead to further suffering and violence in the novel. In the novel Adichie advocates that women should shun submissiveness, subjection, subjugation  and oppression so that their condition may be redeemed.

Adichie kick against the perpetuation of violence as a tool of female oppression and show of male power and dominance. Radical feminist theory state that the oppression against women manifests itself in men’s control of women in families, sexual oppression within and outside the family and violence against women
This oppression is further legitimized by cultural and traditional authority as a norms or customs by the people in that particular society.

In this case, Beatrice in “Purple Hibiscus” believes that the typical African male has the right to physically correct his spouse or child when they err. She does not question her husband‘s behaviour towards her because in the typical Nigerian tradition a good wife does not challenge her husband.

Adichie is able to illustrate that most of the victims of these forms of violence were females. So there is a call for a discontinuation of gender violence against women in the novel.
The review on the novel also shows that Adichie and her female characters are voices advocating for change in the way society treats women and the marginalization of women in the society.

As a writer, Adichie uses her novel to explain the problem face by women in Nigeria which include gender violence, domestic violence, religious bigotry, tribalism and other social inequalities. Her work (PURPLE HIBISCUS) challenge the already established patriarchy structures of male order at both domestic and national levels.

 

COMPETING INTERESTS

I declare that I have no financial or personal relationships that may have influenced me in writing this article. I write this articles based on my experience with those who have such.

 

I will like to ask a simple question for my fellow readers and viewers.

  1. What is your own views and contributions on this articles?

  2. Are you aware of existence of domestic violence in your area? If so, explain

  3. What are your perceptions of girls/women who experience domestic violence

  4. Do these girls/women enjoy in this marriage/relationship? Elaborate.

  5. What in your view is the best way forward to solve this problem?

  6. Does culture in any way contribute to domestic violence?

Please let me know all your reactions, views and insights in the comment box below!

 

Written by:

Kogwuonye Patrick Onyeka

Writer/Blogger/Educator/Tutor

University of Benin

Credited to :

Women  who fight gender based violence, intimate partner violence, molestation and thrive to be self independent, and to all feminist

5 comments

    • Some questions were not answered.

      I will like to ask a simple question for my fellow readers and viewers.

      1. What is your own views and contributions on this articles?

      2. Are you aware of existence of domestic violence in your area? If so, explain.

      3. what are your perceptions of girls/women who experience domestic violence.

      4.Do these girls/women enjoy in this marriage/relationship? Elaborate.

      5. What in your view is the best way forward to solve this problem?

      6. Does culture in any way contribute to domestic violence?

      Please let me know all your reactions, views and insights in the comment box below!

      You are welcome

      #PATRICKSTORIES
      Peace ✌and Love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Some questions were not answered.

      I will like to ask a simple question for my fellow readers and viewers.

      1. What is your own views and contributions on this articles?

      2. Are you aware of existence of domestic violence in your area? If so, explain.

      3. what are your perceptions of girls/women who experience domestic violence.

      4.Do these girls/women enjoy in this marriage/relationship? Elaborate.

      5. What in your view is the best way forward to solve this problem?

      6. Does culture in any way contribute to domestic violence?

      Please let me know all your reactions, views and insights in the comment box below!

      You are welcome

      #PATRICKSTORIES
      Peace ✌and Love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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