Ngugi wa Thiong'o Long Fiction Analysis
Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s fiction, like that of many contemporary African novelists, is highly political: It portrays the traumatic transition from colonized culture to an independent African society. His novels illustrate with unmatched clarity the problems created by this period of rapid change. Superior European technology introduced into Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century undercut traditional cultural values, and colonial domination (denunciation of indigenous cultures and religions, appropriation of native lands, forced labor) led to a disintegration of indigenous societies.
The major themes of Ngugi’s novels derive from his characters’ attempts to overcome the confusion caused by the peripeteia of values and to reintegrate and revitalize their new syncretic culture. Faced with the drastic dissolution of his family in the Mau Mau war from 1952 to 1958, Njoroge, theprotagonist of Weep Not, Child, tenaciously adheres to his beliefs in education and messianic deliverance in a vain attempt to maintain some cohesion in his life. Waiyaki, the hero of The River Between, believing that he is the new messiah, also attempts in vain to reunite the Christian and traditional Kikuyu factions of his village. A Grain of Wheat is experimental in form: The novel’s meaning is available not through the character and experiences of a single protagonist but through the complex interrelationships of five major and many minor...
(The entire section is 6067 words.)
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