Petals Of Blood By NGũgĩ WA Thiong'o Literature Reviews Example

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Kenya, Force, Village, Fire, People, Fiction, School, Blow

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/09/09

The novel, Petals of Blood is a seemingly simply murder-fiction that is meant to criticize the socio-political landscape of its time and era in Kenya. Written in 1977, its message is still surprisingly true today because, unfortunately, many of the misconceptions about the country still ring true around the world. The plot begins in Ilmorog, where three managers of a local brewery have died in a fire. Arson is naturally suspected, and the novels base rests on the arrests of the four main characters: Munira, Abdulla, Wanja, and Karega. Munira is the novel’s protagonist, and the headmaster of the town’s school. Abdulla owns a local bar. Wanja works in Abdulla’s bar and adjoining shop; she later becomes a prostitute. Karega is a schoolteacher. Though all are very different, their stories intermingle through a shifts in time and place, to show a connection between each person.
There were instances when the time shifts were confusing. Fluctuating from past to present was often an effective tool to show how the socio-political climate had changed throughout the story, as well as how each character was connected to one another and certain events. At times, however, it was difficult to understand. For example, the reader first meets Munira twelve years before the fire, or presumed arson, takes place, as he travels to the village of Ilmorog. While this point in time was clear, the shift to Munira twelve years later in a more industrialized Kenya was not entirely clear. Munira had initially traveled to the village to give children an education. Specifically, he wanted to provide them with a Christian education, which was something that he had learned about outside of the unindustrialized, dusty Ilmorog. He began to believe this religion and form of education was the only one that people should have, and thus began attempting to force it on the inhabitants of the village. His insistence that Ilmorog children receive a Christian education and the militancy with which he approaches the situation suggests he has been brainwashed socio-politically, like many in his country, by traveling Christians. He enlists the help of the other alleged arsonists, despite the fact that the villagers believe he will eventually blow away in the wind like everything else. We see here, twelve years prior to the fire, the character’s live became entangled.
It was not that the villagers were overtly opposed to Munira’s teachings; they appeared indifferent to his actions. As stated in the novel, they believed he would eventually blow away in the wind. However, Munira stuck around and, after enlisting the help of some fellow villagers, began building somewhat of a small empire. Knowing that a brewery was the target of the suspected arson, and the teachings Munira was trying to spread, it would not be unrealistic to suspect him or his primary assistants when suspecting arson. The three managers of the brewery who tragically lost their lives may have been seen as the opposition by anybody, including Munira, who was attempting to bring Christianity into Kenya. After the arson, the story introduces inspector Godfrey, who believes that he and the police force are solely responsible for making Kenya more modern. Again, we see an allegory for the socio-political theme in the novel. Religion appears relentless in the novel, and lives are lost. However, the law represented by Godfrey and his police force is also relentless as the inspector terrorizes Munira, Abdulla, Wanja, and Karega in the belief that he is also making the village and Kenya a better place. Both parties are unable to see they are acting in a tyrannical manner, which neither is acting fairly. Albeit Munira’s camp did supposedly successfully commit murder which would make their cause admittedly worse. Godfrey’s relentless interrogation is not without its purpose; throughout his questioning, the reader is able to see the past twelve years and each character’s involvement with one another.
The past twelve years have also seen Ilmorog emerge from a village of huts in the mud to a more sophisticated town of mortar and brick. The author reveals how Western progress and the infiltration of colonialism in Kenya has changed nearly everything, shattering misconceptions that people may have had when the book was written, as well as now. Kenya is often referred to as “New Kenya,” conceptualizing the capitalism and Marxism that has taken over the country. As it turned out, the small Christian school Munira wished to star was only the first, small wave of change that overtook Kenya. Though spiritual in nature, many things continued to change after that. As many still perceive Kenya to be very Lion King-esque in their minds, they neglect to understand, or even entertain the notion that a land so uncorrupted by anything can often be the most corruptible.
In sum, on the surface Petals of Blood is a murder fiction, but if one peers more deeply into the story, they are able to see it as a heartbreaking tale of corruption. Kenya was not a rich, thriving nation before Western spirituality and customs infiltrated its borders. However, after Western religion appears, and the police force begins to think of itself as the only force that will industrialize and civilize Kenya, innocent people begin being murdered in cold blood. Three managers of a brewery died in a fire to prove a point for a cause they did not believe in. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o did a subtle, but wonderful job weaving a tapestry of socio-political tension and chaos within this seemingly simple murder-fiction, forcing readers to look further into the changes Kenya has undergone in order to truly understand the impact forcing one culture onto another can do.

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WePapers. (2020, September, 09) Petals Of Blood By NGũgĩ WA Thiong'o Literature Reviews Example. Retrieved February 02, 2023, from
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WePapers. 2020. "Petals Of Blood By NGũgĩ WA Thiong'o Literature Reviews Example." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved February 02, 2023. (
"Petals Of Blood By NGũgĩ WA Thiong'o Literature Reviews Example," Free Essay Examples -, 09-Sep-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 02-Feb-2023].
Petals Of Blood By NGũgĩ WA Thiong'o Literature Reviews Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Sep 09, 2020. Accessed February 02, 2023.

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