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Minutes of Glory by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

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Silvia Carbone

on 2 May 2016

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Transcript of Minutes of Glory by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

"Minutes of Glory"
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o


Ngugi wa Thiong'o
"Not that she was ugly; but she could not be called beautiful either. Her body,
dark and full fleshed
, had the form, yes, but it was as if it waited to be
filled by the spirit
The plot /
Consequences of colonisation
Wanjiru is a fallen woman destined to live in a world removed from her
earthly paradise
, a milieu associated with warped
Western values
, she still can
have a stake
in her destiny;
Nguhi wants the reader to see Wanjiru's brief triumph as a gleam of hope for her culture and African women
- Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California
- 1938, Kenya (when Kenya
was under Bristish rule)
- novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist
"Why can't African literature be at the centre so that we can view other cultures in relationship to it?"
Post-colonial studies
Search of self
"Her name was Wanjiru. But
she liked better her Christian one
, Beatrice."
- Kenya's most renowned writer
part of the British Empire in Africa:
1920 -1963
1952 - 1959: state of emergency due to the
Mau Mau rebellion
against British colonial rule
the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya
postcolonialism questions and reinvents the modes of cultural perception
subaltern peoples exploited by colonial rule
colonialism presented as
"the extension of Civilization"
"She was part of a generation which would never again be one with the soil, the crops, the wind and the moon."
"She wanted
. She wanted
"she was like a wounded bird in flight: a forced landing now and then but nevertheless wobbling from place to place"
- is a naive young rural woman desperate for employement
- is a victim of prostitution
- fails in attracting enough male costumers
- wonders from place to place to find a job
- attempts a metamorphosis of her looks
Wanjiru - Nyaguthii
also a
bird in flight
who hungers
"for change and excitement: new faces and new territories for her conquest. Wanjiru [resents] her very shadow
- Wanjiru and Nyaguthii both have assumed that the other has
control over her life
- goes to Nairobi to shop with stolen money
- finally achieves self-realization
- the conversation between Nyaguthii and Wanjiru does indicate an element of
sisterhood solidarity
- Wanjiru realizes that she too can be herself:
- gets arrested
- major reason for Wanjiru's lack of success: she cannot substitute
fake relationships
genuine love
- during her experimentation with the
cream she feels her most profound humiliation
- "Minutes of Glory" is in part a political statement
against the vices of Westernization
- the
New Africa elite
exploits women for its own gratification and is not interested in genuine relationships between men and women as prescribed by traditional African culture
- some aspects of the traditional society are discriminatory against women: Westernization has only
- Wanjiru's life as prostitute is in contrast with the
traditional values
of her people
- she is like other African women characters who often have found themselves
cut off from their past
and trapped within a system of ruthless exploitation
- European colonialization: slavery, colonialism, and neocolonialism
the official languages are
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