Comparing Petals Of Blood By Peter Ngugi And Devil On The Cross

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Petals of Blood is Ngugi’s fourth and last novel written in English while Devil on the Cross is the last and first novel written in Gikuyu, the native African language. In these two novels, Ngugi lays bare the neo-colonial exploitation by the African comprador class on the natives in terms of economic, political and educational means. Africa’s move towards self-government and independence is drawn ironically and realistically in these novels. The country had fought a long and bitter struggle against the colonial forces but now the challenge posed was to resist the devils acting as willing accomplices of the capitalist forces. As Ngugi says “first it has been external factor of foreign invasion, occupation and control but now the internal factor…show more content…
He explains that Ngugi as a student at Alliance high school and Makerere college was under the influence of colonialism and Christianity but when he was enrolled in the University of Leeds in 1960 he came under the influence of Fanon and Marx and found the means “to hit back at the white man” (121, Ibid.). As a result of which he not only favoured proletariats against growing economic exploitation of masses by post and neo-colonial state but also advocated the violent means of resistance. The Grain of Wheat (1967) ends at the beginning of neo-colonialism and the next novel Petals of Blood starts from the same. Hence from the former text onwards, Ngugi shows the working of Fanonist Marxist ideology. Likewise, Lisa Curtis observes that A Grain of Wheat stands apart from Ngugi’s “later novels in the way in which it universalises the human struggle for order and meaning in a changing world” (198, Ibid.). The past events of the African history of that of betrayal of the nation by the neo-colonists like Karanja in the novel determine the further struggle, in Walter Benjamin’s words “the fight for the oppressed past”. In his Concept of History, he stated that “the tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule”, and in the Kenyan context- the exceptional state of emergency, the Mau Mau war becomes the daily state of…show more content…
In an interview, Ngugi said that he was arrested when he wrote in gikuyu because it had larger impact and depicted the debilitating picture of current scenario of neo-colonialism to the natives, and was widely accessible. In Petals of Blood, the characters undertake journey from Illmorog to Nairobi (city) and in Devil on the Cross the characters travel from Nairobi to Illmorog only to discover the advanced stage of bourgeoisie colonisation. Both the novels can be juxtaposed with each other in relation to its common theme of neo-colonialism as they were first enslaved through racism by Europeans and later by class through native

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