This discussion will take place in the library.

Sarah Oberink-facilitator
Madison Hynes
Arie Potter
Cassidy Town
Nissa Flanagan

1. Student Facilitator(s):
Sarah
2. Protocols:


Whip for Beginning:

How did you like the book?

Which character do you most identify with? Why?
Which was your favorite part of the book?

At the end of the book, were you glad that the father was gone?



Whip for End:

Would you suggest this book to a friend?

What was your first reaction after finishing the book?

What part of the book stuck with you the most?


3. Discussion Questions:

What are the issues and ideas within this novel you’d like to discuss with each other? Be sure to consider various parts of the text (beginning, middle and end). Collaboratively create 15-25 open-ended questions that promote discussion and organize them logically. You can use them within a protocol or on their own.
  • Personal Response Questions
    • Did you like the authors writing style?
    • Did you like the narrator?
    • Did you notice anything the author did really well?
    • Did you find the book to be fast-paced?
    • Did you notice some parallelism in the novel?
    • Which was your favorite theme in the book?
    • Did you like the significance of the purple hibiscus?
      Did you think the book wrapped up well?

    • Would you take credit for your mother's crime like Jaja did?
  • Open-ended, analytical questions -- These promote multiple perspectives and don’t yield a single answer. They address the WHY and HOW.
    • Why was the coup significant?
    • Why did the father disregard his Nigerian heritage?
    • What did the book make you think about?
    • How did Kambili's father become so religious if his father was not?
    • Did you understand everything?


      Do you relate to Kambili at all? If so, how?


  • "Jaja did not wait for their questions; he told them ha had used rat poison, that he put it in Papa's tea. They allowed him to change his shirt before they took him away."
  • "That night, I fell asleep hugging close the image of Papa's face lit up, the sound of Papa's voice telling me how proud he was, how I had fulfilled God's purpose for me. "-52-53

4. Culture & Context

We recognize that we're reading books that take place in different cultures than ours. What do you need to know about this culture that would give you deeper insight to the story? Use a Historical/Biographical approach and pose questions. The bullets below give you some places to start. Each group member should pose at least one question, and each group member should research a resource and post his or her findings that respond to the question. Post a resource for someone else's question. Label your questions and posts so we can see that everyone contributed to both steps.

    • history and political conflict of the nation depending on the time it takes place: historical articles or current news
    • cultural or religious traditions
    • biographical information about the author
    • articles of literary criticism (using Marvel)
    • author information -- interviews, obituaries, statements
    • book reviews
    • research allusions and cultural references


    • When did missionaries start coming to Nigeria? (Madison)
    • What religion are Nigerians?
    • What is the coup that happened in Nigeria and why is it significant?(Sarah)

5. Pre-Discussion Processing
The purpose of this section is to sort out the basic fiction elements in the novel. We've put it at the bottom of your agenda, but it is the first place you'll start to work. This is a good way to check your understanding of the novel, and the group can use this information as a reference during the discussion. You can use your collective knowledge to answer these questions and build a foundation for your discussion so the conversation can focus on higher level issues.

Post on the wiki prior to discussion and include textual references wherever necessary
  • Characters - List a significant detail for each character
Jaja- defiant
Kambili- mature & quiet
Mama- oppressed
Father- dictatorial
Aunty Ifeoma- clever
Amaka & Obiora- daring
Father Amadi- kind, caring
Father Benedict- stubborn

  • Setting - Locations and time periods
  • Nigeria- City, University, Papa's city
  • Conflicts Important plot events- Identify and elaborate on the conflicts that drive the plot
  • Violence- Papa's abuse towards Mama and the children, scary and dangerous, seems like he's trying to use violence to make them fear god-- counteractive. Obviously some of the events leading up include the beatings of Jaja for refusing communion, Jaja, Kambili and Mama for letting Kambili eat before Mass, and Mama's miscarriages. The climax of this theme to me is when Mama finally leaves Papa.
  • Silence- Kaja and Kambili learn to speak up for themselves. They do this mostly through spending time with Amaka and Obiora, the cousins.
  • questioning religion- This starts a little earlier with Jaja however it takes Kambili a little longer to come around. She doesn't ever doubt Papa at the beginning and strives for his admiration and acceptance. However later
  • Narration (point of view) - Describe how the telling impacts the story
  • Kambili is the narrator. She is very timid but is a great observer.
  • Important passages - Have at least 5 important passages on the wiki; a brief comment or question about how and why the passage is important should follow each
    • "Jaja did not wait for their questions; he told them ha had used rat poison, that he put it in Papa's tea. They allowed him to change his shirt before they took him away."
    • "That night, I fell asleep hugging close the image of Papa's face lit up, the sound of Papa's voice telling me how proud he was, how I had fulfilled God's purpose for me. "-52-53
    • "I meant to say I am sorry Papa broke your figurines, but the words that came out were, 'I'm sorry your figurines broke Mama." -10
    • "I wish we stil had lunch together, Jaja said with his eyes. 'Me, too," I said, aloud." -22
    • " ' I asked if you were sure you wanted to stay in the car." (father) Mama looked up. 'I'll come with you. It's really not that bad.'" -28