The Portrayal Of Masculinities In Wambui Githiora's Wanjira And Rebeka Njau's The Sacred Seed

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ABSTRACT

 

This study examines how two female novelists, Wambui Githiora and Rebeka Njau have portrayed masculine identities as problematic in post colonial Kenya in Wanjira and The Sacred Seed respectively. The study explores their presentations of modernity, colonialism, and stereotyping, and how these affect how men perform masculinities. The study analyzes the anxtieties created in men by the various, sometimes conflicting, definitions of qualities and characteristics considered typical or appropriate to a man. The male characters portrayed in Wanjira by Wambui Githiora and The Sacred seed by Rebeka Njau appear either in a sort of identity crisis or are so warped that sober relationships with themselves or other characters seem impossible. The underlying assumption for this study is that the writers engage with the Kenyan male identity as an entry point into the possibility of negotiating healthy gender relations. In the endeavor to discuss the portrayal of the men by the two writers we have paid attention to the characterization and stylistic devices used by the writers in presenting masculinity in the selected texts.

 

The male characters in the two novels are presented as unfulfilled and unhappy in one way or another. Unlike the female protagonists they fail to rise above the social constraints to portray positive traits. These characters seek to assert themselves in the only ways they know how within the public and private spaces, but most fail tragically. Although Githiora and Njau are writing within different time frames and their linguistic choices differ, they seem to suggest that better spaces are needed for Kenyan men to negotiate their identities.

Author: 
Purity Wanja
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