The Theme of Conflict and Protest in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The River Between And Petals Of Blood

The Theme of Conflict and Protest in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s The River Between And Petals Of Blood

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This project focuses mainly on the Themes of Protest and Conflict in African literature, the meaning of Protest and Conflict. Two African novels – The River Between and Petals of Blood by Ngugi WaThiongo are analyzed. It has been discovered that African literature is dominated by Themes of Protest, protest against colonialism and cultural domination and the struggle between accepting or rejecting the white man’s culture and religion. It is worth of note, that the White colonialist dominated East Africa, therefore, this struggle form the conflict found in East and West African literature. Protest and Conflict is discussed in this project by analyzing those events that show protest and conflict in these novels. 




1.1 Background to the Study

Protest and conflict appeared as a theme in African Literature due to the presence of the Europeans in Africa. 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 while the notion of educating the African had emanated and enforced by the colonizers so as to enable them to successfully achieve their 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 their own cultural heritage. To this end, the Africa had to look for ways to protect, sustain and liberate her 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 European culture is conflicting with the African culture and equally wanted 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 Thiong’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 clearly 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.

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.