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What issues is the author addressing in Petals of Blood?

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In Petals of Blood, Ngugi wa Thiong'o addresses the trials and struggles of Kenyan independence. Instead of creating opportunities for people, it brings new forms of oppression and poverty under the guise of progress. The author also explores the entanglements of romantic relationships.

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In his novel Petals of Blood, Ngugi wa Thiong'o addresses the difficulties faced by the people of Kenya, particularly the little village of Ilmorog, after gaining their independence through the Mau-Mau resistance. Indeed, independence isn't what they thought it would be.

In fact, the people become disillusioned by the corruption of their new government. When the village residents travel to Nairobi to try to get some relief from a drought and poor harvest, their representative in parliament simply ignores them. They can't do anything beneficial for him, and he takes no interest in their predicament.

As time goes by, the village changes significantly. Farmers must mortgage their farms and prove ownership of their land, which is far from easy. The residents' simple life is replaced by “progress,” but most of the businesses are soon owned by rich investors from the city. The inhabitants are forced into even deeper poverty. They lose their land (which has been at the center of their existence for so long) and their livelihoods. One of the primary characters, Wanja, who once owned a brewery, lost her business and is forced into prostitution.

The author also deals with the dysfunctional romantic relationships between various characters who become entangled with each other. Munira and Karega both engage in a physical relationship with Wanja, but she is not satisfied with either of them. Munira is finally consumed by jealousy to the point that he burns Wanja's brothel and kills some of her other lovers.

Indeed, independence does not bring the paradise the people of Kenya have hoped for. It simply brings another set of trials.

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