From Alterity To Agency: Pathways Of Subversion And Resistance In Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Personal Essays
In this paper, we have evaluated the contribution of aesthetic and rhetorical devices to Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s artistic mission of sabotaging the political, social, cultural and economic hegemony of empire. We have focused on his deployment of anecdotes, extended metaphors, essayistic allusions, argumentative structure, persuasive juxtaposition, concession structure and irony as aesthetic categories to undermine the domineering imperial codes. Our guiding theoretical lights have been postcolonialism, stylistics and the theory of the personal essay. The postcolonial approach adopted here is in the mould of Gayatri Spivak and Kwame Anthony Appiah; the stylistics perspective is illuminated by Rodger Webster, Peter Barry, Paul Simpson, Eriko Bollobas, Michael Kirkhood Halliday and Chris Holcomb; while the theory of the personal essay is framed by Michel de Montaigne, Phillip Lopate, Theodor Adorno, Holman Clarence Hugh, John D. Ramage and Bensel-Meyers and others. This investigation is pitched in the premise that Ngugi writes subversively from the subordinated margins of ‘alterity’ against the hierarchical power of colonial and imperial empire. In this study, we selected personal essays from the following collections: Writers in Politics: Essays; Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedoms; Decolonising the Mind: Politics of Language in African Literature; Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature, Culture and Politics; Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams: The Performance of Literature and Power in Postcolonial Africa; Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance (first published as Remembering Africa); and Secure the Base: Making Africa Visible in the Globe.