Literature and Reformation in Umoinyang Umoinyan’s the Sacred Cow and Joseph Akpabio’s Successful Failure




1.1       Background to the study

Literature generally evolves from a people’s historical and cultural experiences. Though both male and female African writers explore their culture as sources of inspirations in their literary writings. This point justifies Ngugi Wa Thiongo to makes the following observation in his Homecoming essays that:

Literature is primarily concerned with what any political and economic arrangement does to the spirit and the values governing human relationships. Who nobody has passed through the major cities of Europe and America, where capitalism is in full bloom, can ever wish the same fate in Africa as far as human relationships are concerned. He cannot have failed to see the abject of poverty, the mood and psychological degradation and the cultural impoverishment of large masses of the population…amidst plenty and luxury enjoyed by so few (xvii).

No doubt, literature contains people’s images of their history and of their place in the universe. It is for this reason that Ngugi argues that the images that were represented to Kenyan children through the literature read in schools were not appropriate images. He went further to posit that… the children were made to look and analyse and evaluate the world as made and seen by Europeans. Worse, African children were confronted with a distorted image of themselves and their history as represented in European imperialist literature.


In literature and movies, Ngugi opines that audiences were confronted with the ways in which the imperialist bourgeoisie saw the world. In the same vein, Africans never saw themselves represented or reflected on the screen and never reacted to or responded to themselves and their environment on the screen. They often applauded the superhuman feats of racist heroes of imperialism. Ngugi calls all these cultural imperialism. This is what led him to make an appeal for reading and rethinking literature as he says:

It is time that we realized that the imperialist bourgeois experience of history as reflected in their art and literature is not the universal experience of history (38).


In this way, Ngugi developed a critical mentality in people and also setting himself as an example by writing literature that makes him to be “regarded today by the younger generation as probably transformed. It is while reflecting on the sociological importance of literature and reformation for children that the background to this research work intends to examine the two plays under investigation. It is therefore true that, Umoinyang Umoinyang and Joseph Akpabio are deliberate writers who selects words to convey certain images, attitudes or ideologies that create certain effects in the minds of the reader.

These images tell us a great deal about their creator, his society and attitude to the situations and peoples to be represented. They also highlight their world view. It is important to note that the message of their stories and their social importance are not fully grasped until the philosophy behind their writing is understood.


1.2       Statement of the Problem

African literature in general, is responsive for social phenomena, providing discussions over themes from cultural to political issues. Therefore, it is characterized by linguistic diffusion and significant cultural diversity within regions and countries.

In the twentieth century, most African writers preoccupied themselves with issues affecting the masses like: colonialism, oppression and disillusionment by the colonial masters. Still, the problem of discrimination is still affecting African society today. It is on this point that the study examines literature and reformation in the two novels under study.


1.3       Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to critically examine literature and reformation in Umoinyang Umoinyang’s The Sacred Cow and Joseph Akpabio’s Successful Failure.


1.4       Significance of the study

This research work will be of immense benefits to researchers on the important of literature and how it reforms the society. The study will also help students of literature to understand the important and the usefulness of literature to the society.


1.5       Objectives of the study

This study aimed at examining the following objectives:

(i)         to examine the important of literature and reformation in  Umoinyang Umoinyang’s The Sacred Cow and Joseph Akpabio’s  Successful Failure

(ii)        to understand the meaning of literature and reformation in children in our society

(iii)       to analyze the importance of literature and how it reforms the children in our society as portrayed  by  Umoinyang Umoinyang’s The Sacred Cow and Joseph Akpabio’s Successful Failure.


1.6       Scope and Delimitation of the study

The scope of this research work is delimited to Umoinyang Umoinyang’s The Sacred Cow and Joseph Akpabio’s Successful Failure


1.7       Research Methodology

The primary sources for the material in the writing of this project work will be restricted to Umoinyang Umoinyang’s The Secret Cow and Joseph Akpabio’s Successful Failure while novels from library, academic magazines and internet sources will be used in the study as secondary information.

Originally posted on April 24, 2021 @ 7:27 pm

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.

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