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Social Stratification and Poverty and Social Injustices in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s Petals of Blood and Festus Iyayi’s Violence

Social Stratification and Poverty and Social Injustices in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s Petals of Blood and Festus Iyayi’s Violence

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ABSTRACT

This research study is set to expose the social stratification, poverty and social injustices in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Petals of Blood and Festus Iyayi’s Violence. The two novels expose the ugly treatment the upper class imposes on the poor labourers with social injustices and deprivations and economic rights by the rich. In Petals of Blood, the Kenyan writer portrays the problems experienced by the poor people of Kenyan during and after Independence and how they are oppressed and humiliated.

Apart from subjugation, political disillusionment, humiliation and oppression, their rights are restricted. While in Violence, Iyayi pictures a society with two classes of people the rich and poor, the oppressive forces fighting against the poor to submerge them in perpetual state of poverty, discrimination, social injustices and disillusionment.

According to the study the poor masses are dominated and neglected without care as seen in the lives of the characters under investigation. The study therefore recommends that, literature should be a compulsory subject for all Nigerian students because it mirrors the events, incidents and episode of every society and it would also serves as an avenue for eradicating immoral and political crisis in every society of Africa.

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

This study portrays the social stratification, poverty and injustices in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Petals of Blood and Festus Iyayi’s Violence. Though Ngugi and Iyayi are among the Africa’s for most or prolific writers so no discussion on the historical relevance of Africa’s fiction can be completed without mentioning their names and their works of art. For instance, Festus Iyayi has been observed as one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Nigerian literary scene. His writings are distinctly characterised for directness of social injustices, exploitation and societal and national interests.

As a socialist, Iyayi explores the nature of the Nigerian society in various ramifications from political to the economic exploitation of the poor and marginalised the lower social class members of the society. For instance, Iyayi portrays to the Nigerian society how the poor are exploited in the socio-political structure and how these poor masses pass through various social injustices and domination by the upper class citizens…who are the rich. To bring out the poverty, social injustice, inequality, deprivation, exploitation, degradation and object conditions of the working class Iyayi strikingly defines the difference and significance  of the working class through characters, such as, Idemudia, Osaro, Patrick Mama and Papa Jimoh and other as well as the affluence

represented by Obofun,  Queen and others. For example, due to poverty Adisa, the wife of Idemudia, unintentionally submits herself to sexual humiliation in order to get money to settle her husband’s hospital bill. In the same vein, “Idemudia and comrades even have to sell some pints of blood in order to survive” (253).

The analysis portrays a clear picture of how the masses suffer in our Nigerian in the hands of the rich. On the other hand, Ngugi is one of the famous Kenyan writers whose writings dramatise how the people of Kenya are exploited.

In Petals of Blood, Ngugi portrays a comprehensive analysis and the evils that are perpetrated during the independence Kenya …and how the native people Kenya were exploited and humiliated in the hands of the colonial masters in Petals of Blood because of colonialism. Consequently these form the bedrock to this research work with a view of examining the social stratification, poverty and social injustices experienced by the poor masses in the post-colonial Kenya and Nigeria in Ngugi’s Petals of Blood and Iyayi’s Violence.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The research study seeks to foreground the social stratification, exploitation, social injustice and poverty in the two novels under study. 

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the research study is to analyse the social stratification, poverty and social injustices in Ngugi’s Petals of Blood and Iyayi’s Violence. The study will also expose the effects and consequences of social injustices, poverty and social stratification that the poor goes through in the hands of the rich in African society.

1.4     Significance of the Study

The study will be significant to the readers of this research and government in particular, in order to look into the issues of social injustices that the poor pass through in the hands of the bourgeoisies. The study will also be of great importance to students of literature and also serve as a reference material to researchers who would like to investigate or research more on the writings of Ngugi and Iyayi.

Social Stratification and Poverty and Social Injustices in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s Petals of Blood and Festus Iyayi’s Violence

1.5     Research Methodology

The primary method of this study will focus on the two selected novels in this study, while the secondary sources of the work will examine novels from the library, African critical literary texts, internet and articles for more information on the research work.

1.6     Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of this research work will be limited to Ngugi’s Petals of Blood and Iyayi’s Violence.

1.7     Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of the study:

i to portray the issues of social stratification, poverty and injustices on the poor in the two novels under the study.

ii to examine the consequences and effects of social injustices and poverty that the poor pass through in the hands of the rich in African societies in the novels under investigation.

iii  to proffer solutions to the issues of social injustice in Africa as portrayed by the two authors in this study.

1.8     Bio-Data of Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s

Ngugi was born on 5th January 1938, at Kamirithu, Limuru in Kiambu District of central Kenya. He attended Kamaandura and Mangu schools near his home town in 1940s. After the separation of his parents in 1947, his mother took him with her and brought him up. As a consequence of the state of emergency that arises from the armed revolt for the land and freedom army called the Mau-Mau by the British, Ngugi’s mother was detained for three months and well tortured.

On his return home after his first term at school, Ngugi found that, as part of the colonial forces anti-insurgency protected strategy, his home town has simply disappeared. The state of emergency lasted until 1959 and by its end more than thirteen thousand civilians had been killed, nearly all African.

Ngugi attended Makerere University in Uganda and then the University of Leeds on England where he was exposed to West Indian-born socialist, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth which Fanon argues that political independence for oppressed peoples must be won-often violently before genuine social and economic changes is able to be achieved.

Ngugi as a Kenyan author and pioneer in the literature of Africa has published several books about the Mau-Mau revolt in Kenya. His writings include Weep Not Child, 1964 Devil on the Cross 1980, The River Between 1964, A Grain of Wheat 1967, Petals of Blood 1977, Wizard of the crow 2006; Homecoming 1978 and I will marry when I want 1982.

Social Stratification and Poverty and Social Injustices in Ngugi WA Thiongo’s Petals of Blood and Festus Iyayi’s Violence

1.9    Bio-Data of Festus Iyayis

Iyayi was born on 29th of September, 1947 in Edo state, Nigeria. He started his primary school education at Annunciation Catholic College (ACC) in the former Bendel state and completed his studies in 1966. In 1967, he went to Government College at Ughelli and graduated in 1977 and then he won the Kennedy Essay Competition organized by the United State Embassey in Nigeria. He went to Ukraine in pursuit of his higher education and obtained an M.sc in industrial economics and his Ph.D at the University of Bradford, England.

Iyayi returned to Nigeria in 1980 and begin his lecturing job in the Department of Business Administration at the University of Benin. He was also the president of the Academic staff of Universities in 1986 and then he rose as the President of National Association of the
Organization. He published the following novels; Violence 1979, The Contract 1982 and Heroes 1986. He died at the age of 66 years in a ghastly motor accident on November, 2013.

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