Elements of Tragedy in Selected Novels of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
Maina, Oscar Macharia
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This study investigates Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s use of tragedy as a method of literary representation in his rendition of postcoloniality. The study focuses on five novels;The River Between, A Grain of Wheat, Matigari, Petals of Blood, and Devil on the Cross. As its objectives, the study investigates: the various elements of tragedy used in his selected novels; the use of tragedy in the emplotment and representation of thematic concerns in these novels; and the use of the tragic form as an expression of wa Thiong’o’s postcolonial vision in the selected novels. The study interrogates the presentation of characters, their narrative world, and the conflicts that these characters represent. The ideas that these characters espouse stir the conflicts that wa Thiong’o highlights through these novels and contribute to the literary signification of the postcolonial discourse. With close analysis of key novelistic features such as narrative plot and structure, representation, characterisation, motifs, and point of narration, the study interrogates how wa Thiong’o uses tragedy not only as a means of evaluating the different causes of tragic conflicts but also as a means of proposing avenues for entrenching both ideological and a literary discourse in response to these tragic conflicts. In its analysis of the selected texts, the study uses tenets of postcolonial criticism and tragic realism to facilitate its evaluation of not only the narrative structure but also the novels’ discourse. The study uses descriptive analysis of the selected novels to qualitatively interrogate them in line with the study’s objectives.