Ngugi wa Thiong'o World Literature Analysis
The inevitable conflict between the people and tribal ways of Kenya and the imported culture, religion, and politics of the colonists is the subject of most of Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s works. The importance of reclaiming the land, which has not only economic but also spiritual value to the natives, is one of his frequent themes. He portrays the devastating consequences of imperialism on a national, local, and personal scale. Some of the most painful effects of the encroachment of white culture are manifested in fractured family relationships and friendships. His novels are often set in small villages that stand symbolically for the whole of Africa in its struggle for independence and identity. Similarly, his broken families and severed friendships are meant to be representative of the breakup of Gikuyu society as a whole. Ngugi’s vision is highly political. His early fiction was conservative; it eventually became more liberal and militant, but later in his career he expressed more moderate opinions.
Central to Kenyan consciousness, and therefore to Ngugi’s fiction, is the sacredness of the soil. The Creator, Murungu, gave the land to the first man and woman, Gikuyu and Mumbi, and told them to rule it and cultivate it. This myth of the land as an emblem of sacred trust is always in the background, and often in the foreground, of Ngugi’s fiction. When foreigners seize the land, Kenyans are not only displaced and financially ruined but also alienated...
(The entire section is 3194 words.)
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