Discussion Topic

Capitalism in "Petals of Blood" and its critique

Summary:

In "Petals of Blood," capitalism is critiqued through the depiction of exploitation, inequality, and the corruption of traditional values. The novel illustrates how capitalist pursuits lead to social and economic injustices, adversely affecting the lives of ordinary people and eroding communal bonds.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Where does capitalism appear in "Petals of Blood"?

The cruelty of capitalism is seen in the treatment the workers receive at the hands of Kimeria, Mzigo, and Chui. These men have all manner of material wants and drive around in their luxurious cars, while the villagers must walk great distances on foot in the hopes of seeking relief from the effects of the famine.

They refuse to give the workers more money to alleviate the worker's misery, survival is difficult for them, yet they benefit from the worker's sweat and labor. Their luxurious lifestyle is evidence of this.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

How is capitalism criticized in Petals of Blood?

Capitalism is clearly and boldly criticized in the powerful novel Petals of Blood, written by Kenyan author, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o. In the novel, foreign and domestic capitalists are attempting to plunge Kenya into the world of capitalism. Through this, the poor of Kenya become poorer, and the rich—and those who are willing to crush those around and beneath them—become richer. As the novel progresses, the village of Ilmorog transforms into a "modernized" town in which transnational corporations and domestic business owners enjoy an elite life while the rest of the people in the town suffer from the ruthless economic practices.

Capitalism is a system in which surplus and scarcity is fundamental to its economic model. The wealthy owning class have the surplus and the poor experience scarcity. Sometimes, as is the case in capitalist countries with large middle classes, there are those who experience abundance. But that abundance rests completely on the existence of surplus for the rich and scarcity for the poor. In Petals of Blood, it is the multinational corporations, the wealthy foreign investors, and the ruthless domestic business people who come out on top.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on