Love and Money: Erotic Materialism In Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s Petals Of Blood

Felicia Annin


This paper offers a reading of Petals of Blood (1977) in which Ngũgĩ exposes the practical, utilitarian side of intimate relationships, revealing ambiguities that complicate the romantic love ideal that is the social embodiment of his utopian political vision. It is clear that the term “materialism” in all its connotations is a central concern in Ngũgĩ’s philosophy. As a Marxist materialist, an ideological paradigm that influences the construction of the novels from his middle career, Ngũgĩ writes novels that repeatedly show how the unjust economic base of Kenyan society, and its unequal relationship with the world economy, is the root cause of many of its social ills. This paper examines materialism in the ambiance of romantic love as well as investigates the intricacies revolving around love and marriage. From the analysis, this study draws conclusion that the implications of materialist love defeat the notion of romantic love which naturally results in marriage.


Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Erotic Materialism, Marxist Materialist, Capitalist, Love, Money, Harlot

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