The theme of conflict is rife throughout the novel The River Between. Many characters and groups are in intrinsic conflict with one another or have personal conflict with other individuals, and it all serves to highlight the cultural differences that appear in the novel.
First, there is a religious difference between the Christian groups (such as those in charge of the Siriana Mission School) and the indigenous peoples. There are stark cultural differences that cause conflict—most glaringly when Joshua’s daughter, Muthoni, decides to undergo female genital mutilation, or female circumcision, which is against the Christian teachings of the school but is a coming-of-age practice in the tribe. She is expelled from the school for this practice.
The interpersonal conflicts show up just as strongly. Chege and Joshua have an ongoing rivalry, and the two lead opposing clans in the tribe, with Chege attempting to hold on to the traditions of the past and Joshua striving to become like the...
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