Part of growing up is building your own identity by choosing which paths to follow. In Enugu, the only path Kambili and Jaja are allowed to follow is Papa. He writes out schedules and severely punishes them when they stray. When Kambili and Jaja visit their Aunty Ifeoma in Nsukka, they are astonished by what they find. Though her home is small and devoid of luxuries, there is love and respect. Her children Amaka and Obiora are allowed to question authority and choose their own paths. Obiora, though he is three years younger than Jaja, is articulate and protective. He has been initiated into Igbo culture by performing a rite of manhood. Jaja was not allowed to participate and is ashamed that he is lagging behind his cousin. In Nsukka, Jaja is encouraged to rethink his allegiances and make his own decisions.
Aunty Ifeoma encourages Kambili to reconsider her stance on Papa-Nnukwu. As she has been taught by Papa, her grandfather is a heathen. But when she searches his face, she sees no signs of godliness. After witnessing his innocence ritual, Kambili questions the absolute rule of her father. Both Kambili and Jaja take major steps towards adulthood by claiming their individuality.
There is a contrast between Father Benedict and Father Amadi. Priest at Papa’s beloved St. Agnes, Father Benedict