Updates from June, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • African-literature on Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Purple Hibiscus, Purple Hibiscus Book Review, Purple Hibiscus Summary   

    Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Book Review 

    Purple Hibiscus is carefully crafted and presented through form and content relevant to the African context. The author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, made her debut as an author through the publication of this novel. Purple Hibiscus was published in 2003, which set the stage for publication of additional and captivating titles. Additional works by Chimamanda include Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), Americanah (2013).

    Purple Hibiscus Summary

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- Purple Hibiscus, african-literature.net

    Purple Hibiscus is Chimamanda’s debut novel.

    Purple Hibiscus narrates the story of Eugene and his family, where he is committed to raising the desirable model of a family. He opts for Christianity as the preferred religion for his family; though his wife, son and daughter are not given any room to choose their religious preferences. The novel begins with Papa’s violent eruption during family time, an event which is later explained toward the end of the novel. This gives the author a unique opportunity to portray the well-rounded picture of events unfolding in the story line. Eugene is married to Beatrice, and together they have a son (Chukwuka Achike) and a daughter (Kambili). The story is told through Kambili’s eyes, giving the reader a clear and unbiased view of all events, character’s perspectives and relationships in the novel. Eugene’s family environment is ‘closed’ from the rest of the world, as Kambili and Achike/Jaja have little to no room for social and emotional growth. The emotional and social suppression in the family takes a toll on the children, who experience feelings of displacement and isolation in school and the extended family context. The situation in Eugene’s family changes when the children get the opportunity to visit their Aunt, Ifeoma, in the University town of Nsuka. Aunty Ifeoma raises her children as a single parent and works hard to provide for Amaka and her siblings. The environment in Nsuka lasts for a short while due to their father’s domineering style of parenting. However, the short stay causes a shift in the way Kambili and Jaja view social relationships, and they notice the distortion in socialization that has led to their current position. Aunty Ifeoma, Father Amadi and Amaka make significant contribution to Kambili’s emotional and social transformation. Jaja revolts against his father’s authoritative rule, which partly helps him affirm his position as a young man and only son in the family. Eugene’s emotional abuse toward his wife culminates into physical abuse toward the wife and children. Eugene’s wife poisons him. He dies a short while after the poisoning. Jaja, his son, takes responsibility for the crime, where he opts for jail-term on behalf of his mother. Jail-term hardens Jaja, who is seemingly transformed by the time he leaves prison. The mother uses the family inheritance to bribe her way to frequently visiting her son, the last of which involves the announcement of Jaja’s release. Kambili has also experienced transformation into a young and confident woman. Aunty Ifeoma continues to write letters from abroad, following her departure a few years earlier. Since Eugene’s death and the incarceration of her son, Beatrice has continually grown physically weak. She rarely initiates or takes part in communication, but shows signs of renewed life and alertness after the announcement of Jaja’s pending release from prison. Chimamanda highlights the culmination of political tension in the country, as the successful staging of a coup results in the change of the country’s leadership. Beatrice and her children have the promise of being re-united as the novel comes to a close.

    Purple Hibiscus Book Review

    The novel clearly communicates Chimamanda’s thoughts to her audience. Perhaps the outstanding feature present throughout the novel is the author’s fascination with beauty and attention to detail in each event. Flowers such as the Purple hibiscus (which is also the book’s title) Indian Jasmine, and the periwinkle flower are mentioned in some parts of the novel. Chimamanda describes the flowers’ beauty in detail, and with it establishes the femininity of her story line. Eugene represents the seemingly immortal domineering father figure. However, his position cannot remain unchallenged for long. His fate is seemingly meant to match that of Okonkwo, in the novel “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. This is highly likely the case considering Chimamanda’s admiration of Achebe’s work on African culture and identity. Her opening line in the novel reads “Things started to fall apart…,” which is arguably a tribute to the mentor in African literary writing. In more ways than not, Eugene is an embodiment of Okonkwo, giving a timeless aspect to the social, economic and political issues that impact negatively on the African continent. The African contemporary space is vulnerable to retrogressive perspectives meted against Africans, which is clearly laid out in the novel. Chimamanda is skilled enough to satisfy the reader’s thirst for fiction, without detachment from the real issues that impact on the African social, economic and political environment. Eugene’s death, as captured towards the end of the novel, symbolically represents the death of oppression among the African people (in the person of Beatrice, Kambili and Jaja), which is further reinforced in the coup event in Nigeria. Aunty Ifeoma and her children represent the high price paid by those who choose to stand their ground against oppressive regimes and political influences. Politics is a significant force in the liberation of the African people. The themes addressed in the novel include;

    Religion; Chimamanda explores the double standards employed in some religious contexts. The basis of sincere and insincere religion is seemingly based on understanding religious obligations in context of the African culture. Father Amadi and Eugene offer highly contrasting examples of individuals involved in religious matters. The author makes an analysis of religion as a useful tool for socialization, which is also potentially manipulated for execution of selfish ambitions. Eugene’s cover-up with religion did not keep him from downfall, while Father Amadi’s practice of religion proved fruitful, offering Kambili the opportunity for healing and emotional growth as a young lady.

    Feminism; the author explores Beatrice’s ever-dominant but silent voice that holds the family together. Eugene’s actions work toward destruction of the family (such as severe beating of Kambili), while Beatrice is seemingly committed to collecting the pieces. Aunty Ifeoma is also featured as the anchor of her family, where she manages to raise it without the father’s help. Chimamanda’s occasional feature of beauty through flowers seemingly holds the peace in the midst of emotional suffering and emptiness in Eugene’s compound.

    The characters in Purple Hibiscus come to life through their interactions and relationships with fellow characters. Major and minor characters in the novel help in the development of the story line and presentation of the themes. Consider main characters such as Eugene and Kambili, and minor characters such as Amaka, Obiora and Chima. Each of the characters is an importance participant in the successful development of the plot.

    Chimamanda has positioned herself as one of the influential contemporary African writers. Her focus on the fictitious domain has given her the freedom of exploring and developing her creativity in the course of writing, while giving her the room for portrayal of African culture. Purple Hibiscus is a successful literary piece of writing, where the author makes significant contribution to the reclamation of African identity and culture. Themes relevant to the African context are clearly explored. The novel has set the stage for the author’s additional writing and engagement of the African literary audience.

    • palglade on Permalink | Reply

      This book is actually fascinating.I can see that continuity of Achebe’s literary artwork through writers like Chimamanda. so good.

  • African-literature on Permalink | Reply
    Tags: The River and the Source, The River and the Source by Margaret Ogola Pdf, The River and the Source Novel, The River and the Source Pdf   

    The River and the Source by Margaret Ogola, book review 

    The River and the Source is among the few out-standing works tagged African literature. In this novel touching on family ties and continuity of the authentic African social fabric, Margaret Ogola exemplified her prowess in creative writing in a captivating and informative narrative. The River and the Source Novel was first published in 1994, and became the first among Margaret Ogola’s three notable novels. The novel is currently a literature study text in Kenya. Other literary works written by Margaret Ogola prior to her demise are: Cardinal Otunga: A Gift of Grace with Margaret Roche (1999); I Swear by Apollo (2002); Place of Destiny (2005). The novel “I Swear by Apollo” was written as a sequel to The River and The Source.

    Summary & Review

    The story-line in The River and The Source follows the inter-related lives of women across four generations. As evident in the novel, social changes occurring in the course of time has significant impact on the way the society views women, and accords them opportunities. Margaret Ogola successfully captures these changing perceptions over time, and eventually portrays the place of women in the modern African society. She skillfully shows how these experiences are more or less similar or related, though occurring in different time dispensations.

    The setting of the story is in Kenya, with the use of language and thematic concerns showing a deep appreciation of the Luo Culture. Moreover, the themes addressed in the story are applicable to the general African context. As the events is the story are set in the post-colonial period, the Margaret Ogola makes strong statements in relation to the advancement of women’s rights for the African context. Her feminist approach to writing does not look down at men in society, for the elevation of women’s status. On the contrary, the author’s creativity molds the African woman as innately strong, whose strength need only be acknowledged and therefore awakened. She steers clear of showing competition between men and women in African societies, and gives the idea that all can work together for mutual benefits.

    Margaret Ogola also shows the similarity of challenges experienced by women across time, where the different generations of women seemingly share in the experiences of oppression, and their ability of overcoming the oppressive lifestyle imposed on them. The length of the book does justice to the author’s intentions to tell her story. As you flip through the pages, which otherwise seem inexhaustible, you become more and more engaged with the story. The young African reader can easily relate with the imagery on African lifestyle, as depicted in the story. The general readership is easily captivated by the artistic narration of events, crowning Ogola as one of the prolific African writers in the past few decades. Margaret Ogola is therefore successful in her intentions to tell the story. She creatively informs on the plight of the African woman, and gives insight on her abilities wherever she is given the opportunity to perform.

    The themes, characters, setting and audience add taste to the narrative. The unfolding of events from one chapter to the next reveals the hidden patterns in the novel, which assist the author in telling her story. Hence, the plot of novel is divided into four parts;

    *Part 1: The Girl Child     *Part 2: The Art of Giving     *Part 3: Love and Life     *Part 4: Variable winds

    • Ng'ang'a Mwangi on Permalink | Reply

      Talk about Africans living outside the orbits of capitalism, and the dynamics of life. This and other issues can be found in this text. A must read I would say.

      • African-literature on Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Ng’ang’a Mwangi for your contribution. Find more book reviews on the site and feel free to share your thoughts.

    • Keshi on Permalink | Reply

      Am reading this reviews and they are captivating. The book is an indicator that a woman can stand strong without putting a man down. Positive feminism is real

    • Kakayaw Kazbeky on Permalink | Reply

      Am reading it and I just realised the place of a girl child or a woman in a society is very important thanks a lot GOD BLESS

      • JASPER NDEMO on Permalink | Reply

        God bless in all your live with your hardworking

    • Kakayaw Kazbeky on Permalink | Reply

      Am reading it and I have just realised the place of a girl child or a woman in a society is very important thanks a lot GOD BLESS

    • Enock Nyamcti Ochanda on Permalink | Reply

      I thank God for letting Dr. Margret Ogola to introduce the novel ‘The River and The Source’ of which I did it in my Form Four course year 2014. I enjoyed the novel daytime and at night and even my leisure time.

    • Erick muchangi(atom) on Permalink | Reply

      Indeed this is my best novel ever.The numerous pages which make the story to flow logically keep the reader in touch with the book.CONGRATULATIONS DR MARGARET OGOLA!!

    • Joshua musyoka on Permalink | Reply

      The best book ever and I also thank God for letting DR MARGRET OGOLA to write a great novel like this long live the great Margret Ogola!!!!

    • miriam jedidah on Permalink | Reply

      Ithank God for grading Margaret A.Ogola with knowledge to write such interesting novel….

    • Christine Oyugi on Permalink | Reply

      The novel is a great work of African lit. it embodies the resilience of the African woman. I appreciate the review, as it makes useful highlights of the text. bdw I swear by Apollo is another fantastic work. once you have read The Rivera and the Source, its plot really falls in place, making it a very intriguing read

    • palglade on Permalink | Reply

      This is so great , am encouraged and motivated as a novice writer. Our writers have a beautiful way of presenting their incredible information. looking forward to reading more of the reviews.

  • African-literature on Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Scarlet song pdf, Scarlet song Summary   

    Scarlet Song by Mariama Ba, Summary and Book Review 

    Plot Summary

    Scarlet Song Novel by Mariama BaThe novel, Scarlet Song, by Mariama Ba, focuses on the theme of love, and narrates the story of two youngsters. Ousmane Gueye (a Senegalese) and Mireille (daughter of a French diplomat). The two young people are from highly diverse backgrounds, but are bound together by love.

    At the beginning of the novel, the reader is introduced to Ousmane Gueye. The writer gives a description of the kind of environment he grew up in – a humble background. Mireille, however, has different experiences in life. As the daughter of a French diplomat, her life is rather fair.

    The novel is divided into three main parts. Each of the parts is further divided into several smaller sections. Each main part of the novel presents a major milestone for the couple’s relationship.

    Ousmane Gueye is from a humble Muslim family and has overcome numerous challenges to acquire education. Mireille, on the other hand is from an affluent home, and literally had everything she desired materially, while growing up. Neither the difference in their worlds, nor the animosity arising from both families towards each other, succeeds in drawing them apart.After a separation that lasted for a number of years, the two get married and settle down in Senegal.

    The novel, however, ends on a sad note, as Ousmane has an affair with Ouleymatou (a childhood friend). On discovering the double standard life Ousmane is leading, Mireille becomes mentally unstable and kills their young child. She also goes on and stabs Ousmane several times. The story ends with her deportation to France.

    Setting, Characters, & Themes

    The novel is set in different locations, among which, the major ones include; Rural African setting, Institution of Higher Learning and Urban environments. Each of the different settings is of significance in the development of the novels’ plot.

    There are a number of characters in the novel, among which the major ones are; Ousmane Gueye and Mireille. Other characters in the novel include; Yaye Khady (Ousmane’s mother), Djibril Gueye (Ousmane’s father), Ouleymatou (Ousmane’s childhood friend and later on, wife), and Mireille’s father and mother.

    The writer adopts an Omniscient narrator’s voice throughout the novel. This enables the reader to have an all round view of the events that take place in the novel.The author’s use of language has also enabled her to give the novel an authentic African taste. There are a number of words in the novel, which are written in Arabic. This is an additional attempt at reflecting the culture of the community in focus.

    Apart from the theme of love, which is the major theme in the novel, other themes that the writer highlights include; racial animosity, traditions versus modernity, Education and Betrayal.

    Book Review

    Mariama Ba ranks among prolific writers of the past and current century. She not only writes about the authentic African experience. She explores the struggles and experiences of a ‘special’ category of Africans. Mariama Ba explores the place of women as having a special place in the African society.

    Indeed, most of the struggles facing the African woman are highlighted in the novel. Some of the experiences she writes about can be linked with Mariama Ba’s personal life and struggles as a woman in the African context. As a Feminist writer, she skillfully and artistically illuminated the role of women in the largely patriarchal African society.

    As Mariama Ba writes from her experiences as an African woman, the majority of women share in her sentiments concerning struggle and recognition of women in Africa. Mariama Ba’s depiction of women is comparable to that of Margaret Ogola, in the novel The River and the Source.

    Mariama Ba has been successful in her efforts of informing the reader about the predicament facing different classes of individuals within her society. At the same time ensuring that the reader remains captivated throughout the novel.

    • Mykie Omosh on Permalink | Reply

      so intresting , please forward the notes of the whole book including Themes and characters to my email, thanks

    • magdaline nzilani ngumi on Permalink | Reply

      nice to read..good wok Mariana Ba

    • Susan kagendo kilonzo on Permalink | Reply

      The novel is very interesting

    • Martin on Permalink | Reply

      I like the book..please forward the notes of the whole book including Themes and characters to my email.

    • morine on Permalink | Reply

      nice novel send the whole book in my email please

      • kuku on Permalink | Reply

        if u have gotten the book can u pliz send it to my emails as well

    • lalaito on Permalink | Reply

      very interesting book,congratulations Mariama Ba.wish to get all the notes to my email including the themes and styles

    • John on Permalink | Reply

      so nyc en interesting

    • Glory on Permalink | Reply

      Please send me the break down of themes and stylistic devices of this .in my email…God bless the work of your hands

    • Ezra Karuoya Maina on Permalink | Reply

      Indeed it is a nice story. It plays a critical role in enlightening the contemporary society about the place of woman in the society. Nice work. Rest in peace Mariama Ba

    • Kitui N Betty on Permalink | Reply

      Good work Mariama Ba,can you plz send me summary of the whole book

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc