In Wizard of the Crow, how does gender influence religion and religious expression?

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In Wizard of the Crow, it is largely men who represent influential spiritual figures. Yet, Ngugi wa Thiong'o does not neglect to highlight masculine and feminine influences in the area of religious expression. As an example, the Ruler represents a religiopolitical symbol of corruption, while both Kamiti and Nyawira represent the symbiotic religious figure of the "Wizard of the Crow."

In the story, Ngugi wa Thiong'o's satirical portrayal of the Ruler serves as an implicit criticism of Kenya's oppressive regimes. The Ruler sees himself as God's all-powerful representative on earth. Even the language that surrounds the Ruler is religious in nature. The Ruler expects his subjects and even his wife to hold him in extreme veneration. According to the text, the Ruler is rumored to visit a special chamber in his house on a daily basis. This chamber is said to be a cross between a museum and a temple. There, he supposedly bathes in the blood of his enemies before commencing his daily inspection of enemy skull exhibits.

When his wife, Rachael, confronts him about his preference for young girls, the Ruler stops time in order to punish her. He commissions a mansion to be built for her imprisonment, an obscene twist on the biblical "In My Father's House Are Many Mansions" concept. There, Rachael will be confined until she repents of her sin of questioning her husband's sexual predilections. Even the record player in Rachael's sinner's mansion is set up to play only one hymn, one which exhorts sinners to repentance:

Our Lord will come back one day
He will take us to his home above
I will then know how much he loves me
Whenever he comes back
And when he comes back
You the wicked will be left behind
Moaning your wicked deeds
Whenever our Lord comes back.

The Ruler tells his wife that he means to be her "beginning" and her "end." Again, the language is couched in biblical overtones. Later, the Ruler proposes building his own Tower of Babel, which he indulgently names "Marching to Heaven" or "Heavenscrape."

Aburiria would now do what the Israelites could not do: raise a building to the very gates of Heaven so that the Ruler could call on God daily to say good morning or good evening or simply how was your day today, God? The Ruler would be the daily recipient of God's advice, resulting in a rapid growth of Aburiria to heights never before dreamed by humans.

On another level, the masculine joins with the feminine in the spiritual figure of the "Wizard of the Crow" in order to battle government corruption. As the masculine incarnation of the Wizard of the Crow, Kamiti is able to see the future, fly above ground, and interpret the socio-political events besieging African countries. When the police hunt him and Nyawira, they hide at a residence and put up a sign that reads "Warning! This property belongs to a wizard whose power brings down hawks and crows from the sky. Touch this house at your peril. Sgd. The Wizard of the Crow."

Thus, it is through the spiritual guise of the Wizard of the Crow that Kamiti and Nyawira combine their energies to fight for true democracy in Aburiria. In a story replete with religious expressions and allusions, Ngugi wa Thiong'o highlights government corruption through the quasi-religious figure of the Ruler. Simultaneously, in Kamiti and Nyawira, the feminine and the masculine are joined in religiopolitical cooperation for the purposes of defeating evil.

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