by Kev


This is a novel about disillusionment about the loss of the ideal of independence and the destruction of hope; about the triumph of corruption over humanity, so incendiary was this novel at the time of its publication in 1977 that its author was imprisoned without charges by a Kenyan government sensitive to criticism of its manner of ruling their newly independent nation. His arrest provoked a worldwide protest and led to his adoption by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.


Petals of blood opens with the arrest and detention of four people from the village of Ilmorog. It’s a village geographically remote from the centre of government and remote from the minds of those who form that government one night three African directions of a foreign owned brewery in the village are murdered in an arson attack. Four suspects are quickly arrested and detained for questioning Munira the headmaster of the villages small school Karega his assistant teacher, Abdullah the crippled owner of the local store and Wanja the beautiful spirited barmaid/shop assistant. The four are linked to each other through friendship to the fortune of Umurog and the fortunes of Kenya itself.

By the end, the four friends feel a sense of betrayal by those in power, yet despite the personal losses they suffer, they never lose their faith that one day Kenya will fulfill its true destiny and by that time that time Kenya will be a country ruled by the people themselves.

Ngugi used these four characters to unfold a human drama, telling the story in flashback to twelve years before the fire when Munira had arrived in Ilmurog to set up the school.

Through the individual stories of the quartet their past was discovered, the disappointment and frustrations with past independent Kenya motive them to push for change when the rain falls the crops wither and the villagers begin to die, they hatch a plan to lead the villager on a long walk to Nairobi, to lobby their elected officials for help


 The novel was set in a country called Kenya and the novel exposed the bad government of Kenya in 1977.


The novel was written in English, as the novel was set in Kenya, the central language which is English makes every reader from any country to understand the content of the novel


The writer used an omniscient point of view to narrate the story.



Kenya is a corrupt country which made them not to have a democratic government


The four friends that were arrested were betrayed by the government. They feel the sense of betrayal by the government, they feels the sense of betrayal by the power yet despite the personal losses they suffered they never lose the hope that one day Kenya fulfit its true destiny.


  1. MUNIRA:-The village headmaster of the small school in Illuming.
  2. KAREGA: – The assistant teacher
  3. ABDULLAH:- The impaled owner of the local store
  4. WANJA:- The beautiful spirited barmaid/shop assistant

The four friends are linked to each other through friendship to the fortune of ilmorog and the fortunes of KENYA itself.


Ngugi used the four characters to unfold a human dream, telling the story in flashback to twelve years before the fire.

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