CONFLICT AND IDENTITY NARRATIVE IN NGUGI WA THIONG O’S THE RIVER BETWEEN AND DUL JOHNSON’S ACROSS THE GULF
One of the challenges faced by most modern societies is crisis of identity. Conflict often emanates from the controversies embedded in any discourse that seeks to interrogate closed identity structures. Be it racial, national, ethnic or gender identity discourse, conception should strive to adopt inclusive paradigms. By defining self in contrast to the other, the elements of exclusion are introduced. These forms of classification systems lead to alienation, and oppression because of a hierarchy that treats as outcasts or lesser, the other groups, thus leading to their marginalization. The result is inequality both at social and economic levels. These lead to uprisings, agitations and conflict which are a threat to cohesive existence, and security. There is therefore the need to interrogate the boundaries that exclusion creates, through the infiltration of discourse by counter narratives that can lead to the fragmentation of boundaries imposed by dogmatic identity narratives. This essay takes into consideration the arbitrary and fluid elements that constitute individual identity as evident in relationships that transcend racial, ethnic and gender boundaries. It does this by examining the plot of selected novels, beyond the physical levels, to expose suppressed layers of identities that play integral roles in the determination of identity. Using Ngugi’s The River Between and Dul Johnson’s Across The Gulf, it interprets how individuals navigate and negotiate their identity and how new realities threaten the grand narratives upon which outmoded identity discourse is framed.
Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Language and Linguistics
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.