2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Examining Marxism and Biblical Imagery in Ngugi’s A Grain of Wheat
Andrew J. Linhares
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s 1967 novel A Grain of Wheat chronicles the Mau Mau Revolution of the 1950s and the period following Kenya’s eventual independence in 1963. The novel embraces Fanonist Marxism through its continual emphasis on personal sacrifice as a means to attain independence, and connects this ideology with Judeo-Christian paradigms. This paper will examine the many biblical allusions in the text, such as the title itself as well as Mugo’s Judas-like betrayal of Kihika, a political radical and Christ figure. Ultimately, A Grain of Wheat links biblical themes with the revolutionary Marxist ideology of a colonized people fighting for their freedom, making it both a politically motivated and culturally resonant work of Kenyan literature.

Keywords: Fanonist Marxism, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Biblical Imagery, A Grain of Wheat, Kenya, Mau Mau Revolution, African Literature

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-5
Location: OP 2115
Time: 9:15 am

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