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Matigari Themes & Motifs

Ngugi wa Thiong'o
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Colonialism and Independence

Though the novel never names its country, Ngugi’s Matigari asks the reader to think critically about the relationship between colonialism and independence. By taking the reader through a journey of this fictional, unidentified country, the novel shows how colonial legacies of exploitation and extraction continue to impact entire countries and societies, most notably in the form of enduring economic inequality.

Though the fact that the novel never identifies the country may seem to diminish the novel’s impact, in fact this strategy allows the novel to invite its readers to see structural parallels across numerous contexts. Ngugi makes this strategy explicit in the brief unpaginated preface to the novel, in which he addresses the reader (or listener) outright: “The country is imaginary - it has no name even. Reader/listener: may the story take place in the country of your choice!” This kind...

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This section contains 2,374 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Matigari Study Guide
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