N'gugi Wa Thiong'o "Wedding at the Cross"
Terms in this set (26)
From Homecoming: Studies in African Literature
Religion is not the same thing as God.When the British imperialists came here in 1895,All the missionaries of all the churchesHeld the Bible in the left hand,And the gun in the right hand.The white man wanted usTo be drunk with religionWhile he,In the meantime,Was mapping and grabbing our landAnd starting factories and businessesOn our sweat.
From Decolonizing the Mind (1986): Colonialism
-Project of European political domination that ended with national liberation movements of the 1960s.
-An international and (eventually) global cultural system.
-A policy by which a nation maintains or extends its control over foreign dependencies.
-An attribute of late nineteenth-century imperialists.
From Decolonizing the Mind (1986): Goals of Colonialism
-Profit and Extension of Power
-Economic exploitation of colony's natural resources including human labor; creation of new markets for the colonizer
-Expansion of sphere of influence: religious conversion of natives, implementation of political / legal systems; language
-This expansion eventually seeps into the mind—the mind becomes "colonized" as well
In 1800's Kenya was colonized by__________ and______________ ; natives lose title to their land.
British and Germans
In 1890: Kenya became a British colony. Indian workers imported to build railways and infrastructure
In the early 1900s in Kenya, the european settlers became wealthy on __________ and ______plantations. White population grows from ____________ in 1930s to 80,000 in the________s.
coffee and tea, 30,000 ,1950
In 1952 it was the beginning of ______ ______ Rebellion (Kikuyu tribe) in Kenya. There was guerilla warfare; both sides brutal. Then in _______ the rebellion crushed; work camps and repatriation.
Mau Mau, 1956
In ________ African majority rule established and plans for orderly transition to independence. Then in 1964 the ______________ of __________ proclaimed 12 December; Jomo Kenyatta, former Mau Mau leader, was first president.
Kenya's motto: "Harambee" (Swahili) "Let us all pull together." Kenya is overwhelmingly ______________ (83%)
1960, Republic of Kenya, Christian
From early 1960s, N'gugi has promoted the right (and need) of African authors to publish in __________ language. He now writes in native ____________ (which he had to relearn) His advocacy of African language for African literature has initiated fierce ___________. To think within the language of the colonizer is to be stuck within the colonizer's ______________.
Ngugi seeks to recover the storytelling tradition of his childhood; the__________ of African traditions. Others (e.g.___________ ____________ ) have disagreed: No native language available for many; English as lingua franca of global culture; why limit the audience of African literature?
native, Kikuyan, debate, thought, orality, Chinua Achebe
What made Wariuki attractive to Miriamu (and, perhaps, to readers as well) as he courted her in the early days of their marriage? Which (if any) of these traits suggest that as a young man he was uncorrupted by British ways?
He was only a poor milk merchant, he did not have "material" dreams, he would ride his bicycle around to show off his skills, he joined in protests, and would mock his white bosses. He was different from the rest, and she liked that, seeing as she came from a home of strict Christian and Western ways. Mocking his white bosses, and holding his dancing or bicycle demonstrations shows how different and "pure" he was.
What's the role of Christianity in "Wedding at the Cross"?
Is the story itself critical of all kinds of Christianity, or just of some kinds?
Christianity plays a major role in this story, it is the driving force of the culture, and Wariuki's conversion to it. There are different kinds of Christianity, the traditional church, and then the religion Miriamu joins, The Religion of Sorrows, which was a combination of the African and Christian tradition with its singing and dancing.
What, exactly, does it find wrong in Christianity? What might be good, at least potentially, about Christianity in the story's view?
Christianity represents the powerful influence of the colonialism that once ocurred, thus represents the loss of the old culture. Although it also comes to represent the chance of a new culture that sees no social status difference between people who want to get married, or be a community.
Do you see any hints in the story that certain kinds of Christianity might be valuable to Kenyan culture?
1038: "Everyone said" opening
1039: Description of Wariuki
1039: Description of Miriamu's family ("God-fearing couple")
1040: Douglas Jones "summons" Wariuki; the interview
1041: Early days of marriage
1041: "But he was never the old Wariuki"; "But soon a restless note crept into his singing"; he disappears
1042 top: Change in Wariuki
1042: Seeking work; "he was in any case ashamed of the past"
-man of few words, no longer singing
-ashamed that he had been a "loafer", and thought that if he had been more "enterprising" he would not have felt shamed before Miriamu's father
1043: "He had to strike out on his own for moneyland"
1043: "He was angry . . . with his own people."
1043: "Then he drifted into the hands of the colonial regime and cooperated"
-make his way for success
-they struck out, Mau Mau war, mad because business fell with war
-chose the colonial side, thus avoiding concentration camps
1044: "He joined the Church in gratitude . . . He dragged Miriamu into it"
-his business survived because of choosing the colonial side, so he converted to Christianity, and dragged her as in she didn't really want to, but what do what he pleased
1045: "But Miriamu prayed a different prayer, she wanted her man back."
-changes name to Dodge W. Livingstone Jr. and he is now successful farmer and timber merchant, that prayed his daily prayers, a very boring pattern that she did not miss, so she prayed for the Wariuki before the day he met her father, when his mind was not so "colonized" it was "pure"
1046: "Now in Church he started singing again. Not the tunes that had once captured her soul, but the old mournful hymns she knew so well."
1046: "became Dodge W. Livingstone, Jr."
1046: "They quickly offered Livingstone partnership on a fifty-fifty share basis,. Praise the Lord and raise high his name. Truly God never ate Ugali."
1046: "Miriamu still waited for her Wariuki in vain . . . She never put on airs. She even refused to wear shoes."
-he used to sing, but now sings the songs of the colonizers, ones she has heard all her life, giving her a sense of being trapped from her own culture
1047: Description of workers: The Religion of Sorrows
1047: Their music "made her want to dance with happiness"
-not so important people outside of the church, dressed in red-wine dresses, holding tambourines, drums, guitars
-broke the silence of the church, "jazzy bouncing unison", dancing, voices raised to the sky
1047: "But for Livingstone this was the supreme moment. Sweeter than vengeance."
-the moment he had been slaving over, to prove to Douglas that he was good enough for his daughter, ironic because he lost worth in Miriamu's eyes as he followed the father's desires
1048-1049: Celebrants from the Religion of Sorrows break the silence with music and drums.
1049: Why does the story end by describing the members of the Religion of Sorrows?
It ends to describe a victory to the natives, they have broken into the church, and broken the silence of the colonizer's rules, and interjected their own.