Interweaving of Melodies: Convergence of Divergent Voices in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Devil on the Cross (1980)



African Literature, Dialogism, interweaving melodies, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Polyphonic Novel


Literary critics have analysed the African novel using few philosophical models that reflect conventional experiences on the continent. Dominant subjects such as political upheavals, relegation of women and revolutions characterize African works of prose, which prompts most critics to employ Marxist, postcolonial and feminist canons in critical appreciation. As much as these canons aptly dissect African classics, there exist other literary canons that bring out multiple voices embedded in some African works of prose fiction. This study breaks away from the aforementioned conventional trends by unearthing divergent voices and how they turn the novel into a conference of competing ideologies. Using dialogism, this article analyses divergent voices with regard to diverse subjects conveyed by characters in Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross (1980).  The ideas of Mikhail Bakhtin (1984) will form a theoretical basis of interpretation.  This analytical study is, therefore, a close textual reading of the primary and secondary texts while Bhakhtin (1984) serves as a theoretical framework for the interpretation. One major finding of the study is that its Marxist content, notwithstanding Ngugi’s Devil on the Cross is a polyphonic novel.


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How to Cite

Nyongesa, A. (2023). Interweaving of Melodies: Convergence of Divergent Voices in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Devil on the Cross (1980). Hybrid Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies, 5(1).