REVISITING POSTCOLONIALISM AND THE PLIGHT OF THE AFRICAN CHILD IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S PURPLE HIBISCUS AND HALF OF A YELLOW SUN

Published: June, 2020

Author(s):

Tarkpegher     Henry    Terngu

 

About Author(s):

Nasarawa State University Keffi. Nasarawa State

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Abstract

This study examines the plight of African children with close reference to Chimamanda Adichie’s novels, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. The study maintains that child abuse is sometimes caused by parents. In Purple Hibiscus, Eugene Achike as a deviant father, subjects his children Jaja and Kambili to physical and mental torture. The plight of Jaja and his sister Kambili is neatly captured as their father beats them frequently, scalds their feet with hot water, breaks Jaja’s finger, and does not allow them to live a normal life since he has a strict schedule that they must adhere to. Their father has “imprisoned” them in their own home. In Half of a Yellow Sun, the children suffer as a result of poverty and war. Poverty is responsible for their plight as some are denied education and subjected to child marriage, child labour or sexual abuse. The Biafran Army rapes children at will. Little children are conscripted into the army and sent to the war front without formal military training. The plight of children in these novels is an indication of what children are passing through in Africa and only the adult world can alleviate their plight. Postcolonial criticism attributes Eugene’s deviant behaviour and the civil war (the main causes of child abuse in both novels) to colonialism and its aftermath.

Keywords: African Children, Child Abuse, plight of children