Greener Journal of Languages and Literature Research

Open Access


Greener Journal of Language and Literature Research Vol. 4 (1), pp. 01-011, April 2018.

  © 2018 Greener Journals

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 030718034

(DOI: http://doi.org/10.15580/GJLLR.2018.1.030718034)

Women’s fight in Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross: a structural analysis




Professor at the School of Criminology, University of Lubumbashi (UNILU)



This paper attempts to investigate the meaning of Ngugi’s Devil on the Cross. Through the analysis of the novel structure, it pursues a revelation of the social disease painted in the novel and a detection of the kind of Women’s fight and its protagonists engaged in the revolution of the fictional society. This research bases its analysis through Algirdas Julien Greimas’ semiotic square model. As a result, the build of the semiotic square summarizes the novel into the binary words: exploitation and liberation or uhuru. While the exploitation is the work of the thieves and robbers including their disciples, local or foreign supporters (belonging to the ruling class), the battle of liberation is the work of protagonists that belongs in majority to the weak class. The women fight takes place in this last view when they are engaged to put an end to their multi-victimization. Women protagonists are engaged in their liberation and the liberation of the whole fictional Kenyan society. Wangari’s strategy fails to arrest and to put into everlasting jail those who foot masses. After experiencing the trouble of past events, Jacinta Wariinga, another woman, chooses simply to kill the figurehead of sexual abuses and workers exploitation. And the act of killing the Rich Old Man from Ngorika and his two guests, mentioned in this novel, marks the symbol of woman’s victory. Consequently, the plot appears to be the schism between the actants of the upper class and those of the lower class, the majority and the minority. In the fight of these two classes, masses are victorious on the wealthy people who are a minority.

Keywords: Women’s fight, semiotic square, exploitation, liberation or “uhuru”.

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