The Bible in Africa: Transactions, Trajectories, and Trends

By Gerald O. West; Musa W. Dube | Go to book overview

THE LIMITS OF DIFFERENCE: NGUGI WA
THIONG'O'S REDEPLOYMENT OF BIBLICAL
SIGNIFIERS IN A GRAIN OF WHEAT AND
I WILL MARRY WHEN I WANT
Peter Wamulungwe Mwikisa

A Grain of Wheat (1967) is the third and most accomplished, after Weep Not Child (1964) and The River Between (1965), of the novels which Ngugi wrote before he dropped the Christian “James” and adopted the Gikuyu “Ngugi Wa Thiong'o” by which appellation he is now generally known. Ngugi has not given an account of his experience of the road to Damascus, so it is not possible to speak in precise terms of the significance and the kind of the conversion implied by, his change of names. Nevertheless, even a cursory glance at his work shows that his oeuvre lends itself easily to a division between, the early works on one side of that event, and the later works such as Petals of Blood (1977), I Will Marry When I Want (1982), and Matigari (1989), on the other side. The two texts—A Grain of Wheat and I Will Marry When I Want—are obvious choices to ponder Ngugi's ideological deployment of biblical images and themes because they lie on opposing sides of the decade-long watershed between the publication of A Grain of Wheat (1967) and Petals of Blood (1977). During this period Ngugi changed not only his attitude towards Christianity and the Bible, but also his views on the strategies and tactics of combatting the global power of Western imperialism.

I am, therefore, inclined to see the change in names as metonymic of what N. Lazarus describes as a “fundamental revaluation on Ngugi's part of formal and artistic priorities and political tactics” (Lazarus 1990: 212). In other words, the change reflects a multidimensional effort on the part of Ngugi to deal with the crisis of consciousness which, according to Lazarus, assailed African writers in the period immediately following independence, namely, how to identify with the masses, for whom they presumed to speak. The change signals Ngugi's search for a less intellectualised register (Lazarus 1990: 23). If, therefore, I focus on Ngugi's allusions to biblical images and themes, it is not because I do not see the larger picture. I do

-163-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Bible in Africa: Transactions, Trajectories, and Trends
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 828

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.