THE NOVEL AS A TOOL FOR SELF ASSERTION: A Comparison of Selected Works of Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Samuel Selvon and Ralph Ellison



  • Chapter One: Introduction
  • Chapter Two: Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Petals of Blood as a Work of Self-Assertion
  • Chapter Three: The Theme of Self —Assertion in Samuel Selvon’s A Brighter Sun and Turn Again Tiger
  • Chapter Four: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man as a Novel of Self-Assertion
  • Chapter Five: A Comparison of the Novels in the Study



Literary artists have skillfully harnessed the novel form to mirror society and its problems. These artists aim to create a better world. Therefore, they suggest solutions to the problems, which they reflect in their works. This istudy assesses this phenomenon and sees how far Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Samuel Selvon and Ralph Ellison have succeeded in this endeavour. The first chapter introduces the work and delimits its scope. It also reflects briefly on the life and backgrounds of the writers. The second chapter explores Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Petals of Blood as a work of self — assertion. Through this novel (and indeed all of his writing), Ngugi voices stiff opposition to colonialism and neo-colonialism. He depicts characters who act as a vanguard in this endeavour. Petals of Blood, then, is a critique of a modern African nation emerging from a bitter past and grappling with the realities of the culture.

The third chapter examines the responses of the exploited Caribbean people to their situation. In A Brighter Sun and Turn Again Tiger; Samuel Selvon portrays characters from different backgrounds co-existing, fighting foreign domination and initiating a common culture. The fourth chapter looks closely at the Negro’s attempt to assert himself in the United States of American. The whiteman had previously excluded him from the mainstream America society because of his dark-brown colour. In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison shows the absurdity of his racial stratification and advocates an end to it through co-operation and co-habitation. The final chapter compares the selected novels and shows specific areas of agreement and differences. It also compares the responses to situations adopted by the writers in their various worlds and works, ranging from the downright blatant to the very subtle. This chapter also reviews the main argument and then concludes.

Prof. Francis Mogu

Professor Francis Mogu is a highly experienced and exposed scholar who has done extensive research in:

1. African Literature (Colonial, Postcolonial to the Present)
2. African-American Literature in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries
3. Gender / Women’s Studies (Black Feminist Criticism)
4. Caribbean Literature (C18th to C20th)
5. English Literature (Medieval, Renaissance, Restoration to the Twentieth Century)
6. Critical Theory (From Plato to Contemporary Times)

To his credit are Text books, Journal Articles, Modules Writing, Book Chapters and Conference Papers. Many of which are open access in this knowledgebase. He has edited and published several refereed Journals including Annals of Humanities and Development Studies, Beijing, China: Universal Academic Services, 2010.

Visit to download his open access publications and know more about him.

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