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The Meaning and Effects of Modern Imperialism in Ngugi’s A Grain Of Wheat, and in Silko’s Ceremony

Decent Essays
In this course, we have learned the meaning and content of imperialism, more specifically modern imperialism, and how it affects both the colonizers and the colonized. In the first half of the semester, the imperialists’ view was taken into account through literature. We have studied this perspective in books written by well-known authors, like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Melville’s Typee, and Ingalls’ Little House On The Prairie. On the other hand, the colonized , or natives’ reactions and struggle against imperialism was also considered, for example, in Ngugi’s A Grain Of Wheat, and in Silko’s Ceremony, and that is my main discussion in this essay.
First, we can start with Ngugi’s A Grain Of Wheat. This novel talks about the people of
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That man stands before you ,now. Kihika came to me by night. He put his life into my hands and I sold it to the white man. And this thing has eaten into my life all these years.” Mugo admits that he preferred the British, who obviously are the imperial power itself, over his own people. Maybe at last Mugo felt like he belongs to his society by both confessing his betrayal to Kihika and saving Karanja’s life.
By mentioning this betrayal, along with other ones, Ngugi complains about the African’s reactions to the imperial power: they put the whites in the center and denied the class. It is true that , though overcoming imperialism is discussed in the book, like in chapter 7, when Kihika, Karanja, Gikonyo and Mumbi gather to sort out a plan to get rid of the British, there is always someone who doesn’t share the same opinion and would prefer imperialism , for they see that it is the closest way to modernity and civilization.
In an interview done with Ngugi, the interviewer asked Ngugi about how his attitude towards imperialism is shown through A Grain Of Wheat and Petals of Blood. In response to that question, Ngugi states hoe concerned he was about imperialism in Kenya in its two stages: the colonial and the neo-colonial. He points out how imperialism affects the people, the colonized, and on several basis. “ The imperialism is a total phenomenon- an economic, a
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