heridge Knight’s “Hard Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminally Insane,” John Hope Franklin’s “The Train from Hate,” and Claude McKay’s “Outcast” are all racial Others, yet they exhibit integrity and determination by and by accepting what their blackness entails while strongly believing that they are not inferior to their white counterparts. They alter the definition of a hero as someone who is confident about their self-worth even though social injustice marginalizes them as the Others.
In “The Language of African Literature,” Ngugi first discusses the colonial alienation children in Kenya experiences as a result of the superiority of English over Kikuyu. In other words, the colonial power implied in the English language is perpetuated through education. Thus, Ngugi explains that he decides to write only in Kikuyu so that all local people in Kenya would be able to understand his work. The subject matter of his work includes revolutionary ideas that challenge the authority, and the government sees it as a threat as Ngugi’s writing is highly popular at the grassroots level where people are unfamiliar with English. Ngugi’s act displays his pride towards his own culture, even though it is undermined by the colonial power. His insistence to speak and write in Kikuyu has resulted in imprisonment, yet he continues to promote a wider usage of the native language so that the colonial power would no longer be able to dominate the Kenyan people in education and in everyday life. As he wrote, “We African writers are bound by our calling to do for our language what Spenser, Milton, and Shakespeare did for English” (452). This statement challenges the status quo between the Kenyan and British culture and promotes pride in Ngugi and other Kenyan people for their original language. Ngugi’s willingness to accept his blackness and his persistence in challenging the colonial oppression through writing and action exhibit ...
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