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Devil on the Cross Themes & Motifs

Ngugi wa Thiong'o
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Communalism

The novel portrays the virtues of communal thinking and action as a means of resisting the individualistic, selfish logic of modern-day capitalism. These two attitudes are captured early on in the contrast between the two songs that Mũturi recites. The first belongs to the patriots and independence fighters during the Mau Mau rebellion against the colonial Kenyan government: “Great love I found there/ Among women and children./ A bean fell to the ground - / We split it among ourselves” (39). In contrast, the home guards and imperialists who defended the colonial order against the Mau Mau sang the following song: “Self-love and the love of selling out/ Among the traitors of the land./ The bean we steal from the people – We struggle to see who can grab it all” (39). Although the “bean” is present in both songs, the two groups respond to it very differently. For...

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This section contains 3,378 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Devil on the Cross Study Guide
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