Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is a feminist work that challenges menfolk who feels humiliation, victimization, and brutality of a woman as a norms in the society. Here Adichie exposed the humiliation, victimization, and brutality suffered by women who feels that she should be a good or ideal women that keep silence despite all this.

In the novel, Beatrice Achike is been portrayed as a woman that belongs to the category of liberal feminism at the initial beginning of the novel.  Towards the ending of the novel she went radical in order to crush anything that stands in her way to happiness. This articles or write-up seeks to address the types of feminism and how characters subject to series of humiliation that leads to a radical approach to gain their freedom as in the poisoning of her husband by Beatrice. She became radical towards the end of the novel to show that she can react when pushed to the wall as will be discussed in some details below.


After a long suffering and discrimination of woman in the society, she is nowadays playing an important role in society as a politician, socialist and economist. Those achievements emerged by the coming of feminism which granted woman’s rights.

This research work on purple hibiscus studies woman (like Beatrice) suffering, dehumanization and segregation by man (Eugene). It deals also with the efforts of Feminism to change woman’s oppression in the entire world and to ask for her equal rights and existence in all the domains (politics, socialism and economy)

This research on the novel purple hibiscus tries to see at what extend does feminism influence woman’s fighting path and to answer the following questions:

  1. How was the situation of woman in the past?
  2. What did feminism brought to woman?
  3. Was feminism efficient to change woman’s life?

The questions asked in this research aims to find if feminism was able to change the stereotypical image of woman and to give her more opportunities to have a place in the society, this why this research on the novel state that:

  1. Feminism was able to eradicate the stereotypical image of woman.
  2. It gave more chances to woman to be important members in the society.



Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.

Whether as a theory, a social movement or a political movement, feminism specifically focuses on women’s experiences and highlights various forms of oppression that the female gender has subjected in the society.

Whether Feminism is considered as a social movement or a political movement, it specifically and mainly focuses on women’s experiences in her daily life, which she subjected to in the society. Since Feminists are able to feel and experience the pain and suffering of women they are totally convinced of what it means to be a “women” in Patriarchal societies. Feminists, therefore seek to remove all the barriers to equal social, political and economic opportunities for women and object to the notion that a women’s worth is determined principally by her gender and that women are inherently inferior, subservient or less intelligent than men.


Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. There are many kinds of feminism in which sometimes and each one of them gives principles and conditions for giving woman her rights.

Based on the research on purple hibiscus, am going to explain the two major feminism found in the novel for better understanding of the topic/article or write-up.



Liberal feminism is an individualistic form of feminist theory, which focuses on women’s ability to maintain their equality through their own actions and choices. Liberal feminists argue that society holds the false belief that women are, by nature, less intellectually and physically capable than men; thus it tends to discriminate against women in the academy, the forum, and the marketplace. Liberal feminists believe that “female subordination is rooted in a set of customary and legal constraints that blocks women’s entrance to and success in the so-called public world”. They strive for sexual equality via political and legal reform.

The major emphasis of liberal feminism include:

  • Equality of women before the law, in educational and professional opportunities
  • Change in marriage laws, property rights
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Protection from rape
  • Wife battering in the home
  • Liberation from all dehumanizing forces.



Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts.

Radical feminists view society as fundamentally a patriarchy in which men dominate and oppress women. Radical feminists seek to abolish the patriarchy in order to “liberate everyone from an unjust society by challenging existing social norms and institutions.” This includes opposing the sexual objectification of women, raising public awareness about such issues as rape and violence against women, and challenging the concept of gender roles.

Shulamith Firestone wrote in The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970): “[T]he end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.

Early radical feminism, arising within second-wave feminism in the 1960s, typically viewed patriarchy as a “trans historical phenomenon” prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression, “not only the oldest and most universal form of domination but the primary form” and the model for all others.


Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasising the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, the social domination of women by men. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing societal rights, privileges, and power primarily along the lines of sex, and as a result, oppressing women and privileging men.

Radical feminism is a movement that believes sexism is so deeply rooted in society that the only cure is to eliminate the concept of gender. It started to emerge in the late 1960s by the famous leaders T. Grace Atkinson and Shulamith Firestone. It denies the liberal feminism claim that the lack of political or civil rights causes women’s oppression.


Radical feminists tend to be more militant in their approach (radical as “getting to the root”) than other feminists. A radical feminist aims to dismantle patriarchy rather than making adjustments to the system through legal changes. Radical feminists also resist reducing oppression to an economic or class issue, as socialist or Marxist feminism sometimes did or does.

The reason this group gets the radical label is that they view the oppression of women as the most fundamental form of man’s domination, one that cuts across boundaries of race, culture, and economic class.

 Radical feminism opposes patriarchy, not men. To equate radical feminism to man-hating is to assume that patriarchy and men are inseparable, philosophically and politically. (Although, Robin Morgan has defended “man-hating” as the right of the oppressed class to hate the class that is oppressing them.)

 The major emphasis of radical feminism include:


It aims is to challenge and overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and oppression of women and calls for a radical reordering of society.

They raise the demand for the destruction of patriarchy. They believe they should be a shift from struggle for role and legal reforms to the destruction of patriarchy. The chief institution of patriarchy is the family and the family promotes patriarchy in the society.

It is a perspective within feminism that focuses on the patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on the idea that male supremacy oppresses women.


This group of feminists claims that the root of women’s oppression is biological. They believe that the physical subordination of women by men is the primary form of oppression and others are secondary.

Therefore, radical feminism believes that woman’s liberation requires a biological revolution. Radical feminism questions why women must adopt certain roles based on their biology, just as it questions why men adopt certain other roles based on gender.

They attempt to draw lines between biologically determined behavior and culturally determined behavior in order to free both men and women as much as possible from such gender roles.

Moreover, they believe that the whole system must be abolished even, its biological aspects. Radical feminism principles contains many interesting claims such as pregnancy and child birth in which they consider them as the most painful and unpleasant experiences that can person pass through.

They believe that the technology should be used to eliminate all kinds of pain particularly from the fundamental inequality of the bearing and rising of the children. This must be the basic achievement because they believe that the heart of women’s oppression is their childbearing and childrearing roles.

Radical feminists believe that the male psychology or biology is the source of women’s oppression and pain. This is why they call for separation and the independence from men.


Central issues engaged by radical feminists include:

  • Reproductive rights for women, including the freedom to make choices to give birth, have an abortion, use birth control, or get sterilized.
  • Evaluating and then breaking down traditional gender roles in private relationships as well as in public policies.
  • Understanding pornography as an industry and practice leading to harm to women.
  • Understanding rape as an expression of patriarchal power, not a seeking of sex.
  • Understanding prostitution under patriarchy as the oppression of women, sexually and economically.
  • A critique of motherhood, marriage, the nuclear family, and sexuality, questioning how much of our culture is based on patriarchal assumptions.
  • A critique of other institutions, including government and religion, as centred historically in patriarchal power.


Tools used by radical women’s groups includes:

  • Consciousness-raising groups
  • Actively providing services
  • Organizing public protests
  • Putting on art and culture events
  • Women’s studies programs at universities are often supported by radical feminists as well as more liberal and socialist feminists.


CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE presented Beatrice as a liberal feminist that is free and their ability to tolerate men.

From my analysis of the novel am able to bring five (5) proves, analysis and existence of liberal feminism/feminist in the novel. They are as follows:


This can be seen in the beginning of the novel, Here Beatrice Achike tolerates the brutality and victimization from her husband as an African/Nigeria woman so as to be regarded as a good woman for the sake of her society. In African/Nigerian tradition, it is a taboo to be a divorcee or to think of a divorce.

It is obvious that their faith in the Catholic Church made her to believe that divorce is not an option in marriage but rather, marriage should be for better for worse.


From the opening of the novel, one can clearly predict the type of husband/father, Eugene Achike will be to his household or family.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE started the novel in this way to clearly describe the family and the everyday domestic violence Eugene impose on the household as seen in the novel. Kambili’s voice is used in telling us the events as they unfold and the opening of the novel through her voice made us to know the kind of father she has when she posits:

Things started to fall apart at home when my brother, Jaja, did not go to communion and Papa flung his heavy missal across the room and broke the figurines on the “étagère”. We had just returned from church. Mama placed the fresh palm fronds, which were wet with holy water, on the dining table and then went upstairs to change. Later, she would knot the palm fronds into sagging cross shapes and hang them on the wall beside our gold-framed family photo. They would stay there until next Ash Wednesday, when we would take the fronds to church, to have them burned for ash. Papa, wearing a long, gray robe like the rest of the oblates, helped distribute ash every year. His line moved the slowest because he pressed on each forehead to make a perfect cross with his ash-covered thumb and slowly, meaningfully enunciate every word of “dust and unto dust shall you return”. (Adichie, 2003, p. 5)



Here Beatrice was seriously making and telling Aunty Ifeoma excuses for brutality and victimization from her husband Eugene. Aunty Ifeoma was so pissed off when she gave reasons for her husband’s behavior.

She said

“Eugene has not been well. He has been having migraine and fever,” she said. “He is carrying more than any man should carry. Do you know what Ade’s death did to him? It is too much for one person.” “Ginidi, what are you saying?” Aunty Ifeoma swiped impatiently at an insect that flew close to her ears. “When Ifediora was alive, there were times, nwunye m, when the university did not pay salaries for months. Ifediora and I had nothing, eh, yet he never raised a hand to me.” “Do you know that Eugene pays the school fees of up to a hundred of our people? Do you know how many people are alive because of your brother?” “That is not is not the point and you know it.” “Where would I go if I leave Eugene’s house? Tell me, where would I go?”. (Adichie, 2003, p. 255)

 As always, she uses the above assertion to convince anyone that cares to listen, on the reason why she should accept all forms of violence from the husband. Eugene subjects his family to all forms of psychological trauma and it affected their psyche and thinking drastically. Kambili could not talk boldly with Amaka; she found out that their family is totally different from theirs as a result of her father’s authoritative way of ruling the family.




Beatrice is presented as an epitome of a good woman who tolerates all kinds of humiliation. She told her daughter how the villagers wanted her father to marry another wife when she couldn’t give birth and as a result, she felt indebted to her husband no matter what happens even to the detriment of her life. She posits:

 God is faithful. You know after you came and I had the miscarriages, the villagers started to whisper. The members of our “umunna” even sent people to your father to urge him to have children with someone else. So many people had willing daughters, and many of them were university graduates, too. They might have borne many sons and taken over our home and driven us out, like Mr. Ezendu’s second wife did. But your father stayed with me, with us…“Yes” I said. Papa deserved praise for not choosing to have more sons with another woman, of course, for not choosing to take a second wife. But then, Papa was different. I wished that Mama would not compare him with Mr. Ezendu, with anybody; it lowered him, soiled him. (Adichie, 2003, p. 28)


Silence and passivity are two principal features of a good woman” (Udumukwu, 2007, p. 3) as Udumukwu acclaimed in his book.  

Silencing is a patriarchal weapon of control that is used by the dominant male structure on the subordinate or muted female structure.

The patriarchal aspect of silencing is seen at play in Beatrice who lacks self-confidence and only speaks in low tones as a result of years of abuse, subjection and subjugation. Similarly, her daughter Kambili only speaks when she is spoken to and stammers. The physical and emotional abuse of Beatrice and her children remain a family secret. However, her inability to leave further endangers the lives of her children.

 In African/Nigeria community where she comes from they depict a woman as a good woman” as one who “suffers the effects of oppression, and neglect; and who must maintain a silence and passivity in order to remain good.

 Beatrice is presented as an epitome of a good woman who has these two features of Silence and passivity.

Here is a proof and existence of the tool silence and passivity used by Eugene against his wife and household:


It is naturally believed that a pregnant woman is fragile and should be handled with care but Mama’s case was different as a result of the kind of man she got married to. She was not allowed to take decisions on her own, Papa also dictates for her as can be seen in the novel when she felt like staying back in the car because of her condition but he bluntly refused. It has become a tradition for them to visit Fr. Benedict after mass.

“Let me stay in the car and wait, biko,” Mama said, leaning against the Mercedes. “I feel vomit in my throat.” Papa turned to stare at her. I held my breath. It seemed a long moment, but it might have been only seconds. Mama was looking down; her hands were placed on her belly, to hold the wrapper from untying itself or to keep her bread and tea breakfast down. “My body does not feel right.” she mumbled. “I asked if you were sure you wanted to stay in the car.” Mama looked up. “I’ll come with you. It’s really not that bad.” Papa’s face did not change. He waited for her to walk towards him, and then he turned and they started to walk to the priest’s house. Jaja and I followed. I watched Mama as she walked. Till then I had not noticed how drawn she looked. Her skin, usually the smooth brown of groundnut paste, looked like the liquid had been sucked out of it, ashen, like the colour of cracked harmattan soil. Jaja spoke to me with his eyes: what if she vomits? I would hold up my dress hems so Mama could throw up into it, so we wouldn’t make a big mess in Father Benedict’s house. (Adichie, 2003, pp. 37-38)


This goes a long way to show that her children are even aware of who their father is and his style of dictating for everyone even at their own detriment. From the analysis above Eugene uses a tool of silencing and passivity against Beatrice and his children.


Furthermore, Eugene uses a tool of silencing and passivity against Beatrice. Here Eugene make use of these tool to make her believe what he did is right when she has a miscarriage from the beating she receive from her husband Eugene.

Here her daughter Kimbili posit:

I heard the door open. Papa’s gait on the stairs sounded heavier, more awkward, than usual. I stepped out of my room just as Jaja came out of his. We stood at the landing and watched Papa descend. Mama was slung over his shoulder like the jute sacks of rice his factory workers bought in bulk at the Seme Border. He opened the dining room door. Then we heard the front door open, heard him say something to the gate man, Adamu. “There’s blood on the floor,” Jaja said. “I’ll get the brush from the bathroom.” We cleaned up the trickle of blood , which trailed away as if someone had carried a leaking jar of red water colour all the way downstairs. Jaja scrubbed while I wiped. Mama did not come home that night, and Jaja and I had dinner alone. We did not talk about Mama. (Adichie, 2003, p. 41).

This violent action by Eugene on his wife is against humanity and also, God whom he claimed to worship and adore. This kind of situation contradicts the fate which his Catholic doctrine professes because he has violated and caused harm on his wife’s body to the extent of killing an unborn child.

As a good woman who must protect the image of her husband she remain silence on the situation at hand. Instead of taking also she came back from the hospital as if nothing happened and told her kids/children that-

“There was an accident, the baby is gone,” she said. I moved back a little, stared at her belly. It still looked big, still pushed at her wrapper in a gentle arc. Was Mama sure the baby was gone? I was still starring at her belly when Sisi came in”. As always, she can’t blame her husband for all the harm he has caused and as such, dare not tell her kids about it, though they know the truth. (Adichie, 2003, p. 42)



From the novel She so much confined to her marriage that the idea of the patriarchal system using silencing as a tool” to control her emotional and her inability to leave the marriage, she prefer to condole the maltreatment from her husband than leaving. Her silence also affected her and her children.

This is what she said:

Where would I go if I leave Eugene‟s house? Tell me where would I go?” She did not wait for Aunty Ifeoma to respond. “Do you know how many mothers pushed their daughters at him? Do you know how many asked him to impregnate them, even, and not to bother paying a bride price? (2005, p. 250)

Beatrice also finds security in the concept of marriage despite the pain, abuse and maltreatment that come with the kind of marriage she is in. In her mind, she is fortunate to be the one officially carrying Eugene’s last name and to be the mother of his children.

Despite the fact that Eugene causes her to have several miscarriages by beating her, she refuses to leave him and begins to normalise the abuse by keeping silent (the patriarchal system using silencing as a tool) and justifying his violent behaviour.


Beatrice, whose social and economic existence is tied to her abusive husband, is trapped in a patriarchal order which does not give her economic and social empowerment to break away from her oppressed status in life.

She sees fault in breaking away from Eugene because of over depending on her husband in everything, whether economic or social. The patriarchal society dictate for Beatrice an over dependence on her husband, therefore placing her as a mini god that she sees no fault in Eugene

In the novel, she attach more importance to marriage and she is also afraid of losing respect as a married woman and also for leaving her prominent husband.

This is what she said:

Where would I go if I leave Eugene‟s house? Tell me where would I go?” She did not wait for Aunty Ifeoma to respond. “Do you know how many mothers pushed their daughters at him? Do you know how many asked him to impregnate them, even, and not to bother paying a bride price? (2005, p. 250)



In the novel Adichie further portrays Beatrice as conforming to the dictates of a patriarchal society that affords a woman respect only when she is married.

Beatrice internalizes the liberal feminism idea that dictates and views women without husbands as inadequate or incomplete.

 Here is her dialogue with her sister-in-law:

“[Y]ou say a woman with children and no husband, what is that?” (2005, p. 75), Beatrice asks her sister-in-law, Ifeoma, who knows about the abuse and whom she accuses of being unrealistic with her “university talk”. “You have come again, Ifeoma…How can a woman live like that?”

Beatrice is obviously surprise by the idea that a woman can even think of existing without a husband because culturally that is unacceptable and unheard of. In other words, what Beatrice means is that it does not matter even if a woman is being abused in her marriage. As long as she has a “husband to crown her life” (2005, p. 75), she has to endure all the pains in the marriage.

 It is from this ideal “patriarchal society that gives preferences/respect for women who are married” that Beatrice refuses to leave Eugene after he breaks a stool on her belly causing her to miscarry again.

In the novel, she attach more importance to marriage where she said:

Where would I go if I leave Eugene‟s house? Tell me where would I go?” She did not wait for Aunty Ifeoma to respond. “Do you know how many mothers pushed their daughters at him? Do you know how many asked him to impregnate them, even, and not to bother paying a bride price? (2005, p. 250)




CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE presented Aunty Ifeoma as a radical feminist that is not free and don’t tolerate nonsense from men (especially her brother Eugene)

From my analysis of the novel am able to bring three (3) proofs, analysis and existence of radical feminism/feminist in the novel. They are as follows:



In contrast, Adichie presented another kind of woman whom Udumukwu referred to as the “real woman”. Aunty Ifeoma is totally different from Mama, she stand up for her right no matter the consequences. She is of the opinion that things are not working the way It should in the school and can’t keep quiet for it to get worse.

Theses attribute she displayed is an epitome of a radical feminist. Because here she uses radical approach to the situation at hand without keeping silence. She believe keeping silence will worst the situation. She has to use a radical approach to that situation.

She complained to her colleague:

We cannot keep quiet, sit back and let it happen, “mba”. Where else have you heard of such a thing as a sole administrator in a university?” Aunty Ifeoma said, leaning forward on the stool. Tiny cracks appeared in her bronze lipstick when she pursed her lips. “A governing council votes for a vice chancellor. That is the way it has worked since this university was built, that is the way it is supposed to work, oburia (meaning—it is not like that)?” the woman looked off into the distance , nodding continuously in the way that people do when searching for the right words to use. When she finally spoke, she did so slowly, like someone addressing a stubborn child. “They said there is a list circulating, Ifeoma, of lecturers who are disloyal to the university. They said they might be fired. They said your name is on it.” She replied her colleague and said “I am not paid to be loyal. When I speak the truth, it becomes disloyalty. (Adichie, 2003, pp. 227-228)


Ifeoma is an epitome of a real woman who has the features of a radical feminist and who also  stand up for her right despite the consequences, she refused to be intimidated by those who feels they are at the helm of affair and refused to keep quiet. She is very intelligent and can defend herself as such, wasn’t afraid of losing her job. Even when she lost her job, she has started making plans on how to relocate to a society that will appreciate her real womanhood unlike Mama who is so glued to her marriage and saw it as a privilege to be married to Eugene Achike.

One can decide to give up on Mama because it is obvious she enjoys the treatment meted out on her by Eugene, she refused to stand up and say no to all forms of violent action by her husband. One can succinctly say that Mama is bound up in the marriage as a result of her faith in her religion and the culture of her people; the African woman is usually seen as an embodiment of her cultures and traditions and as such held bound by it. It is expected that Papa should have learnt his lessons after the first miscarriage and treats his wife with more care but he always behaves like someone tormented by the evil spirit, who after committing a crime, becomes sober and goes back to it again.


Here are some key strategies used by Aunty Ifeoma who is a radical feminist in the novel “PURPLE HABICUS”   to address domestic violence been melted on Beatrice and her children by her husband Eugene :

  • Counselling strategy (assessment of the presence, extent and types of abuse) 
  • Prevention and intervention strategies 

  • Counselling strategy

This strategy was used by ifeoma in “PURPLE HIBISCUS”, here ifeoma tries to caution and Counsel Beatrice.

“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.”  (Aunty Ifeoma, Page 213)

  •  Prevention and intervention strategies

These includes ways to prevent domestic violence by offering safe shelter, crisis intervention, advocacy, and education and prevention programs as did Aunty Ifeoma in Purple Hibiscus.

(Kambili and Jaja are taken back to Nsukka to be cared for by their aunt. P. 219 , Aunty Ifeoma and Father Amadi visit and convince Eugene to let Kambili go to Nsukka)


After the second miscarriage, she was forced to run for her dear life as she narrated the ordeal to Ifeoma when she visited them at Nsukka unexpectedly.

My doctor said there was nothing he could do to save it.” Mama shook her head slowly. A thin line of tears crawled down her cheeks as though it had been a struggle for them to get out of her eyes. “To save it?” Aunty Ifeoma whispered.

“What do you mean?” “I was six weeks gone.” “Ekwuzina! Don’t say that again!” Aunty Ifeoma’s eyes widened. “It is true. Eugene did not know, I had not told yet told him, but it is true”. (Adichie, 2003, pp. 253-254) 

From that statement above it’s a radical approach Beatrice use in leaving her house and going to Aunty Ifeoma for advice. Aunty Ifeoma was so furious when she heard what happened to her to the extent of losing a pregnancy, she couldn’t take sides with her brother as one will think but insisted that she won’t speak to his wife when he later called.



Mama is the opposite of Ifeoma, she is totally against her brother’s attitude of beating his wife and sees it as a sign of humiliation. She pleaded with Mama to spend some time with her before going back but, as always, she makes excuses for her husband and the need go back to him.

 Aunty Ifeoma compared her late husband and her brother when Mama was seriously making excuses for him and even told her that his money should not make her worship him like a god (patriarchy dominance used by men on women). She was so furious when Mama started giving her instances of what Eugene did for the people in his village but she bluntly told her that it is far from what they are saying. She was so pissed off when she gave reasons for her husband’s behavior.

She said

“Eugene has not been well. He has been having migraine and fever,” she said. “He is carrying more than any man should carry. Do you know what Ade’s death did to him? It is too much for one person.” “Ginidi, what are you saying?” Aunty Ifeoma swiped impatiently at an insect that flew close to her ears. “When Ifediora was alive, there were times, nwunye m, when the university did not pay salaries for months. Ifediora and I had nothing, eh, yet he never raised a hand to me.” “Do you know that Eugene pays the school fees of up to a hundred of our people? Do you know how many people are alive because of your brother?” “That is not is not the point and you know it.” “Where would I go if I leave Eugene’s house? Tell me, where would I go?”. (Adichie, 2003, p. 255)




Beatrice’s second miscarriage and constant beating by her husband is like the shot that broke the camel’s back. She must have told herself that if she continues like this, Eugene may kill her one day and will still marry another wife. She made up her mind to forget what the church and her society will say if she kills the obstacle that stands on her way to freedom.

It must have been a big battle before she made up her mind to do it. Sisi who we always see through the eyes of Kambili, cooking and taking good care of the house must have been angry with her master for constantly beating his wife and children but she can’t do anything to correct the situation or assist them because she is often regarded as a mere cook who should follow the order in the house and as such, can’t contribute anything meaningful to the development of the family. She is like a watchdog that is always at home and sees everything that happens.

The opportunity came when her madam confided in her and she offered to help. Jaja who is always being presented as a stubborn son who disobeys his father did not blink an eye but to stand in as the sacrificial lamb even when he is not the culprit. He promised to save their unborn baby from the whims of his father even when the baby is yet unborn. He must have been constantly devastated by his father’s behavior and promised to do all he can to protect the women in his life—Mama and Kambili.

He always takes responsibility of an offence committed by his sister in order to protect her from his father. It wasn’t surprising to us when he gave himself as the culprit when his father died. He always compares himself to Obiora who is younger but takes care of his mother; he said “I should have taken care of Mama. Look how Obiora balances Aunty Ifeoma’s family on his head, and I am older than he is. I should have taken care of Mama” (Adichie, 2003, p. 293).

One can rightly say that if not for the autopsy conducted on his body, she would have kept everything to herself. She purposely refused to pick up the phone but when the caller persisted, she picked and announced to her children that:

“They did an autopsy,” “They found the poison in your father’s body.” She sounded as though the poison in Papa’s body was something we all had known about, something we had put in there to be found, the way it was done in the books I read where white people hid Easter eggs for their children to find. “Poison?” I said. Mama tightened her wrapper, and then went to the windows; she pushed the drapes aside, checking that the louvers were shut to keep the rain from splashing into the house. Her movements were calm and slow. “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. (Adichie, 2003, p. 295)

 Beatrice has ceased to be the traditional good woman who is termed a liberal feminist to a real woman who is termed a radical feminist who will not remain silent in the face of humiliation, victimization, and brutality   . It is obvious that she has endured a lot from his husband who refused to turn a new leave. She made up her mind to crush anything on his way to happiness not minding who. This is a deliberate attempt by Adichie in order to prove that those who choose a radical way to achieve their happiness must have given a warning sign before resorting to that way.

Beatrice endured a lot from her husband but when it’s obvious she can’t keep on staying glued to him because she felt that he did her a favour by not marrying another wife who can give him more children. She refused to take into consideration what the church and the society will say because she believes that they could not tame Eugene and as such, damned their consequences. Her children did not blame her for killing their father except Kambili who objected to her method of killing because, they usually take a sip from their father’s sip and would have been killed as well but their mother was wise enough to know when to use the poison.

Jaja who feels it’s his responsibility to protect his mother and often compares himself with Obiora who is younger but takes proper care of his mother in the absence of his father did not hesitate to take responsibility of killing his father and was taken away by the police men.

Kambili statesThe policemen came a few hours later. They said they wanted to ask some questions. Somebody at St Agnes Hospital had contacted them, and they had a copy of the autopsy report with them. Jaja did not wait for their questions; he told them he had used rat poison, that he put it in Papa’s tea. They allowed him to change his shirt before they took him away. (Adichie, 2003, p. 295)

This will be for Jaja a way to make up all the times he has failed to protect his mother and sees it as an opportunity to make amends. Mama was so devastated when he was taken away and was depressed psychologically and physically, she talks sparingly and gazes into the thin air.

Kambili reveals that

She has been different ever since Jaja was locked up, since she went about telling people she killed Papa…but nobody listened to her; they still don’t. They think grief and denial—that her husband is dead and that her son is in prison—have turned her into this vision of a painfully bony body, of skin speckled with blackheads the size of watermelon seeds…Most times, her answers are nods and shakes of the head…and often…she simply sat and stared. (Adichie, 2003, p. 296)



I declare that I have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced me in writing this article. I write this articles based on my experience with those who have such and also the subjugation/subjection of women and children in the patriarchal society.

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 feminist and the movement feminism in your area? If so, explain

3. What are your perceptions of girls/women who call themselves feminist?

4.  Do these girls/women that you know enjoy been a feminist?

5. Does culture in any way contribute/support to feminist and feminism?

6. Was Beatrice radical approach of killing her husband a good or bad idea?

7. From the prove,analysis and existence of the liberal and radical feminism/feminist in the novel, which one do you think is good for you? explain with reasons.

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


Written by:

Kogwuonye Patrick Onyeka


University of Benin

Credited to :

1. Women who fight depression, molestation and thrive to be self independent.

2. To all feminist who try to fight for there right and inculcate the idea of gender equality through out the world.

One comment

  1. Great work, through this theme you have portrayed here, we can see that love and religion is presented another wY round in the poem. This is so beautiful. I had to read the novel just to come to your work. Do you remember where it was stated in the book that Aunty Ifeoma was not in talking terms with Eugene for years, she was not and never part of his dictatorship. Though Jaja was quiet, we could see through him strength and a readiness to fight if he had his way, Kambili has been let to be quiet for life even towards the end of the novel. She still remains quiet. Thank you for talking me aback. I had to read Americanah as well, which is why I’m just reading your article.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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