By Brendon Nicholls
A topography of lady -- Clitoridectomy and Gikuyu nationalism -- The panorama of insurgency -- studying opposed to the grain (of wheat) -- Paternity, illegitimacy and intertextuality -- The neocolony as a prostituted economic climate -- Prostituting translation: an ethics of postcolonial studying
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Extra info for Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Gender, and the Ethics of Postcolonial Reading
It was at the core of the social structure, and a something that gave meaning to a man’s life. End the custom and the spiritual basis of the tribe’s cohesion and integration would be no more. The cry was up. Gikuyu Karinga. Keep the tribe pure. Tutikwenda Irigu [we do not want uncircumcized girls]. 30 However, the text’s emphasis on the ‘spiritual’ importance of circumcision also obscures its material importance in disciplining Gikuyu subjects: The knife produced a thin sharp pain as it cut through the flesh.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Weep Not, Child, p. 15. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Weep Not, Child, pp. 52–3. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Weep Not, Child, p. 56. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Weep Not, Child, p. 77. A Topography of ‘Woman’ 27 confrontational and precipitates the events that follow. The upshot of Ngugi’s placement of women in a reactionary discourse is that women are excluded from political dialogue. It is interesting that the three men – Howlands, Jacobo and Ngotho – hold dialogue with one another at various narrative junctures, whereas their wives never once hold dialogue among themselves, nor with each other’s husbands.
A Topography of ‘Woman’ 21 and colonized to become a mutually defining one. Ngugi’s association of the land and the sign ‘woman’ enables the reciprocity of political discourses (nationalist, martial or colonial) between the male characters. This association covertly institutes a disempowering gender mechanism: the female character is allied with nature while her male counterparts dominate culture. Thus, the subaltern woman is silenced in Ngugi’s text because she lacks political representation in it.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Gender, and the Ethics of Postcolonial Reading by Brendon Nicholls