Discuss the character of Wanja in Petals of Blood


”Patal of Blood” is a recognized novel by Ngugi wa Thiong based on the new colonial condition of Kenya. In the novel, Wanja is the main female character who is accused of Murder. In the novel novelist presented two types of characters such as the ruler and ruled the oppressor and oppressed beneficiaries, and the deprived. Wanja, the heroine of the novel belongs to the deprived, oppressed, or ruled class society. She turned into a high-paid prostitute from a bar girl. 

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Meaning of the Wanja: Wanja means “stranger or outsider,”. The meaning of her name well matched her because we find in the Novel that she moves from city to city and town to town trying to find her place in New Kenya. The villagers of Ilmorog assume that her name comes from “Wanjiku,” the mother of the nine clans of the Gikuyu people. 

Symbols of a tragic character:  

Although Wanja has committed no crime in his life, he becomes a tragic character. As a schoolgirl, Wanza is seduced by the wealthy Kimeria and becomes pregnant. hearing the news of Wanja’s pregnancy Kimeria deserts her. Later she gives birth to an illicit child and throws it in a drain and carries the guilt of her action with her for many years. thus, she becomes a Symbol of a tragic character. 

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A lady of action:  

Wanja is one of the fourth central female characters in the novel works as a bar girl in Ilmorog. In Ilmorog Wanja works at Abdullah’s shop. Finally, she begins a successful shop. She becomes so tired and lonely with her job as a barmaid that she wants a baby of her own. But she failed several times to arrange a working child. This is why she comes to her grandmother to consult the matter. she joins her grandmother on her plot of land. But here a moment comes to Wanja’s life when she is rejected and becomes the victim of a neocolonial capitalist and patriarchal society then she becomes a high-paid prostitute to survive life.   

Women of practical knowledge:  

When Wanja becomes a prostitute and a victim of an immoral society, she sees a great change in Ilmorog from a place of peace and beauty to an industrial town. She also observed that there is no value in the small villager in this town. She reveals that Kenya has become a place where “You eat somebody or you are eaten. You sit on somebody or somebody sits on you.”  

Intelligent woman:  

Wanja is an intelligent woman: After the independence of Kenya from the British, Wanja tries to find her place in the new society to start a new journey in life. Because of her intelligence, all of the male characters of the novel adored her.  

loving character:  

Wonja has an affair with Karega, a student activist, who cares a great deal about her. Besides Godfrey Munira also loves her but did not pay heed to his love. So Godfrey Munira becomes so jealous of Wanja’s affair with Karega that he dismisses Karega from his teaching job. 

Paradigm of capitalism  

Wanja is a Paradigm of capitalism because when her business ends with Abdulla. she starts a brothel and makes herself into a high-class prostitute serving the urban elite in Ilmorog and she falls into the trap of the vicious circle of capitalism. It makes her an exploiter. Thus, she is at the same time a capitalist victim and a hunter who eats somebody and is eaten by somebody.  

Besides, Wanja is an innocent and wise woman, and a woman of action, as she convinces Abdullah to send Joseph to school, she is a defender of the oppressed as she saves her grandmother’s ancestral land from bank possession.  

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From the light of the above discussion, we can say that Wonja is the most influential character who plays a very significant role in Petals of Blood. she is the symbol of Kenya. The life cycle of Wanja and the history of Kenya are similar. Through the character of Wonja, the novelist portrays the terrible exploitation of evil-minded people and the constant exploitation and violence that takes place in Kenya.

Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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