The Theme of Protest and Conflict in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s the River between and Petals of Blood

The Theme of Protest and Conflict in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s the River between and Petals of Blood
The Theme of Protest and Conflict in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s the River between and Petals of Blood

ABSTRACT: This research work examines The Theme of Protest and Conflict in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s the River between and Petals of Blood. In this project, I have to examine and analyse the protest and conflict that exist in African literature as depicted in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Petals of Bloodand The River Between. In the two literary texts, I have been able to see the conflict of cultures and the alienation of people from their rightful inheritance. The short coming of the society is also highlighted such as Mau-Mau movement, discrimination, humiliation, exploitation and segregation between the blacks and the white as a result of colonialism. The situation is so grave that one feels dehumanized. There is also hardly an indication of accommodation and fair treatment by the government. These have caused great irritation to the blacks. The white misconceive their role and abuse their power. On one hand, we have the white who claim divine right for all the atrocities they perpetrate against the blacks in East Africa. On the other hand, there are blacks who are inflexible and determine to take the bull by the horns and also resolve to take their destiny in their own hand by using conflict and protest as tools for fighting against injustice.

In Ngugi’s Petals of Blood, the dominant themes is armed struggle as a respond to the loss of land and human right in Kenya as well as the rise of the elite or bourgeoisie at the detriment of their fellow citizens. The effect of war on the family, culture and social relationship, the painful growth of consciousness in the youth based on the unfriendly social and economic environment. The novel, reviewed in this study, the different aspect of struggle against the imperialist whites settlers. This struggle is symbolized by the Mau-Mau movement, a cultural and national liberation which saw armed struggle as the way to freedom. In the other way round, The River Between by Ngugi depicts the struggle and division that were current at the time of its production. This depiction focuses on the clashes that took place within the cultural domination. The novel aims to review colonialism as a disruptive effect as it tries to convey the problems that generated among the native.

The Theme of Protest and Conflict in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s the River between and Petals of Blood



1.1 Background to the Study

Protest and conflict appeared as a theme in African Literature due to the presence of the Europeans in African. This means that the Europeans came to Africa with their own favoured objectives. Thus, the primary motivation for European Institution was economic. Eventually, the overriding economic factor led to the colonization mean while the nation of educating the African has emanated and enforce by the colonizers so as to enable them to successfully achieved this primary set-goals together with the additional goals which they were aiming at.

Through these, they were able to introduce their government over the blacks. As a result of this, Western culture turned to have dominion over our own land. Majority of Africans were influenced by the Western culture instead of looking into own cultural heritage. To this end, the visionary African had to look for ways to protect, sustain and liberate their culture. This study therefore is to place African culture at its proper place by using the topic, “protest and conflict” as a tool.

The cultural conflict is seen on how the Europeans culture conflicting with the African culture and want to dominate African land. Protest on the other hand is seen on those African who do not want to adopt the European culture but hold on to the African culture and thereby protesting against the colonial cultures.

In the River Between and Petals of Blood by Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s are among the best representative of the ambivalence toward the nature and the foreign culture. They are concerned with the division, protest, conflict and hostilities that emerged among the native as a result of colonization.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

African societies encountered great challenges to peace, stability, oneness, security, freedom and joy among themselves. These happened as a result of challenges African encountered which affected their socio – economic, social state of being, imposition, irregularity, derivation, distributive, injective and less regards. These unsatisfactory acts or attitude had compelled Africans to voice their way out. As a result of this, protest and conflict came up, a gun alternatively used to shot out the unbearable and unpleasant agent of satisfaction [colonizers]. The problem of this study is therefore to investigate the effect or influence of the European on Africans as well as looking at the scenes of the African society to bring out what is inevitable in African history of protest and conflict.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to protest, sustain and liberate the culture of the Africans so as to prevent the imposition of Western culture on the Africans.

Using The River Between and Petals of Blood by Ngugi Wa Thiongo, the study will therefore seeks to;

  1. State clearing the effect of the imposition of the European culture on African.
  2. Show how African reject European culture and want to continue to practice theirs.
  3. Show how the European culture causes conflict in African culture

1.4 Significance of the Study

The Significance of the study is to enable African and the entire world to comprehend why African Literature revolves around protest and conflict.It is to help keep future Africa writers to focus on the pursuit for total Liberty of the African society from colonialism to neo-colonialism.The study also will be of immense benefit to educators, societies and other researchers in the following ways;

  1. Helps the reader to protest their culture and tradition not to condemn it in totality.
  2. The study will also highlight the place of African culture in the society and its significance to its people.
  3. It will also help other researchers and Literature students to solve some of the problems which emanated after independence such as;political crises, Religious crises, cultural crises among others.

The Theme of Protest and Conflict in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s the River between and Petals of Blood

1.5 Research Methodology

The Study will be mainly library based research.The two text chosen as a case study will be used as a primary source while other information from the internet, published and unpublished articles,journals, copies of earlier project from the library and other related resources will be used and examined as the secondary.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This Research study is concerned with the theme of protest and conflict in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The River Between and Petals of Blood. It focuses on the manner and behaviour of the white towards the black which leads to protest and conflict between the white and the black.

About Peter Lawson 2732 Articles
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.