Jaja – “The Man of the House”
Once again, Kambili has been made to feel papa’s wrath. Her sharp screams of pain pierce holes in my heart, which are then filled with hatred for my father. The fact that he actually believes that a child’s innocent skin deserves such cruel treatment enrages me. I am always trying to think of a solution to the abuse, the anger, and the toxic mindset of that man. I am seventeen years old. It is my duty as a young man in my family, to protect my loved ones. Yet, I am useless; how could I call myself a man if I cannot serve my simple purpose- to protect? Instead, I sit and listen to my sister’s cries and my mother’s sobs, unable to prevent them. Maybe one day, when my muscles are bigger and my voice has enough power to intimidate, I can put an end to this once and for all. Until then, I feel the shame of being a seventeen-year-old young man who sits idly by as his mother and sister get painfully abused in their own home, instead of feeling safe in it.
[Disclaimer: all characters belong to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; this diary entry is part of a class activity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of her characters by embodying and portraying them]