The Martyr Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 53 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Martyr.
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Colonialism

The most central theme in all of Ngugi's work is the effect of colonialism and post-colonialism on the African people. "The Martyr" takes place during a time of rebellion among Africans working on plantations against the European plantation owners. Through the characters of Mrs. Hardy, Mrs. Smiles, and Mrs. Hill, the narrator touches on widespread attitudes of the "settlers," or colonialists, regarding the African people who work for them. Mrs. Hardy is the most outspoken of the three women regarding her racist attitude toward the Africans. She considers them to be "savage," without hope of becoming "civilized." In the final lines of the story, both Mrs. Hardy and Mrs. Smiles agree that "all of them should be whipped." Mrs. Hill, on the other hand, holds "liberal" values in regard to her African employees. She prides herself on her generosity toward them, and adopts a patronizing attitude of patience...

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This section contains 631 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Martyr Study Guide
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The Martyr from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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