The history of human civilization tells us that women were considered inferior to men despite their significant contribution to preserving and developing humankind and human culture. Women were deprived of social, cultural, educational, and artistic activities. That is why, throughout the history of humanity, writers have extensively discussed women’s issues. Like all, the Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1938- present) has also depicted the picture of women in African society in his famous novel ‘Petals Of Blood’ (1977).
In Petals of Blood, Ngugi depicts the condition of women through the life history of some characters. One of the significant characters is Wanja. Wanja, from her childhood, becomes the object of violence and sexual exploitation. Her old lover Kimeria uses her body and throws her away when she becomes pregnant. “Petals of Blood’ is related to her virginity which she has to lose because of the terrible exploitation of evil-minded people. Her purity is likened to petals, which the exploiters have deflowered. Wanja is the symbol of Kenya itself-like Wanja, Kenya is subject to constant exploitation and violence; Kenya is prostituted first by the colonizers, then by the neo-colonialist elite.
To read more: Suggestion
Besides, Ngugi shows British colonialism becoming responsible for the destruction of Kikuyu- Kenyan society. He strongly believes in women’s natural abilities and qualities. Most of his protagonists are women who play roles in the struggle against oppression and exploitation. They try to break patriarchal barriers and bring societal changes to liberate themselves. Ngugi shows the nature of women; he also throws light on the positive and negative aspects of women in Kenyan society. Ngugi doesn’t ignore the impact of colonialism on society in general and women in particular in his novels”. Nyakinyua brings out the state of women and the plight of the poor. Thus, Petals of blood deals with the exploitation of African women based on race, class, and gender.
In short, through Ngugi’s novel Petals of Blood, the reader comes across the fact that a woman can be a mother, politician, socialist, educator, and provider of the family simultaneously. Women like Nyakinyua and Wanja struggle hard against colonialism. They strongly desire to curb the oppression and exploitation of Kenyan society.
For more notes: Click here