Exploitation and Disillusionment in Ngugi’s Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood

Exploitation and Disillusionment in Ngugi's Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood
Exploitation and Disillusionment in Ngugi's Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood

ABSTRACT: The study examines the Exploitation and Disillusionment in Ngugi’s Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood. From the analysis of the two selected plays under investigation, the study has shown that over the years, the poor people of Kenya suffer exploitation, disillusionment, oppression, humiliation, discrimination and dehumanization during and after colonialism. The study has also shown that Ngugi is regarded as Kenya’s most renowned writer whose creative writings portray how the Kenyans suffer poverty. These instances are seen in life of the characters in the two critical works how they suffered of poverty, humiliation, discrimination, oppression and dispossession in the hands of the Europeans and tortured innocently.

The study also shows that these blacks were subjugated, humiliated, oppressed exploited and eventually tortured to death. In conclusion, the research exposes the effects of colonialism and post-colonial   disillusionment of the people of Kenya because of the corruption that prevail after independence. The social status of the poor becomes worst under the post-colonial government.


Exploitation and Disillusionment in Ngugi’s Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood



1.1     Background to the study

Ngugi is regarded as Kenya’s most renowned writer. He is an eminent writer along with Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka of Nigeria. He is one of the increasing numbers of African writers of international stature and reputation. His writings specifically examine the effects of Mau-Mau rebellion, exploitation, discrimination and oppression of the British-ruled in Kenya during her independence. It is on this backdrop that Ngugi makes it clear in one of his critical works Homecoming that “it is colonial suppression that has caused political violence in Kenya in the first place.

The violence of the British authority and that of the Mau Mau are not comparable because while the first is made to take an advantage of a people, the latter is made to protect their own rights and liberties” (20). He further noted, “Mau Mau violence was anti-injustice while white violence was to thwart the cause of justice” (20). His style of writing and statements make him one of the best African literary icons because, he strongly holds the view that revolution is a potent weapon of social change without which the continent will remain under perpetual enslavement and subjugation.

It is on this respond that the background to this study focuses on the themes of exploitation and disillusionment in Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood. No doubt, Petals of Blood is a novel that portrays the effects of exploitation, corruption, discrimination and disillusionment of the post- colonial rule in Kenya. Thus event has declared its drought and poor harvests in the village of Ilmorog.

Undeterred, Munira, Karega, Wanja and Abdulla each move to Ilmorog in search of a more provincial life, only to find themselves suspects in a crime that signals a dark turning of the times. Consequently, this makes Ngugi Wa Thiongo damning politics and corruption in Kenya that proves to be the catalyst for his imprisonment by the Kenyan government. Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Weep not Child and Petals of Blood analyses the revolutionary temper over the years especially in the contemporary African novels that many African writers and some intellectuals have been preoccupied with social and political circumstances of their societies.

These writers like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria and Peter Abrahams of South Africa and the rest of other prominent writers who constitute first, second and third generations of the African literary history have worked truthfully on the reality of African situations. The fact is that the colonial regimes in African societies are the negations of creations and action. With the demise of colonialism and the institution of people government, African societies become degenerate rather than progress.

African writers and intellectuals alike became furious to see their societies being run according to the style and manners of their departed colonial masters. It reflects change in Ngugi’s work from portraying the colonial era to reflecting the exploitation and corruption in Kenya.

In addition, the issue of disillusionment and oppression by the colonial masters and how the novels reflect are discussed in this research. So, this contemporary African novel sensitises the consciousness of the colonised Africans to the exploitative and ugly nature of Colonialism and post-colonial government in Kenya. It reflects the conflicts between labour and capital, the oppressed and oppressor and the attempts made by the oppressed to achieve political and economic emancipation.

With the Marxist undertone, Ngugi makes the African societies precisely the native Kenyans aware of their condition and make them to fight for liberty and freedom. Such attempts at improving the people’s standard of living cannot but involve revolutionary actions. It is observable that the ability of the fictional historian to portray the travails of the people in the society is linked with Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s emotional ties with the people whose problems, hopes and aspirations this author shares. In the same vein, Petals of Blood attacks the socio-political reality in Africa post-colonial society. Bribery, corruption and nepotism become the order of the day. It is this social reality that arouses the interest of the researcher to portray the theme of exploitation and disillusionment in the selected novels under investigation.


1.2     Statement of the problem

The Statement of this study is to establish the fact that Ngugi’s Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood are highly based on Kenya’s history of subjugation, exploitation, disillusionment and oppression by the white settlers and post –colonial independence government in Kenya.


Exploitation and Disillusionment in Ngugi’s Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood

1.3     Purpose of the study

The aim of this research is to portray the themes of exploitation and disillusionment in Ngugi’s Weep Not Child and Petals of Blood as they affect the people of Kenya colonialism and post colonial periods.

1.4     Significance of the study

The study will be of importance to African leaders to address the evil foundation which the colonial masters laid in African societies. The study will also be of significance to students of English and literature as it will help them have a fair knowledge on the root cause of exploitation and disillusionment in African countries.

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