Hybridity in Meja Mwangi’s Little White Man

Elizabeth A. Odhiambo


The study examined elements of hybridity in Meja Mwangi’s Little White Man, a text set in colonial Kenya. In particular, the study was interested in the writer’s juxtaposition of the world of the child characters with that of the adult characters and the hybrid syncretic crossings reflected therein, against the backdrop of colonialism. The postcolonial theory was useful in the analysis of the selected text. The findings reveal that the text reflects both cultural and character hybridity. For the child characters, hybridity is a site for social reconstruction from which they emerge wiser and more enlightened through social interaction and practical experience of each other’s world. The adult world on the contrary, stands in total contrast to the children’s world. It is characterized by suspicion, insecurity, tension, contempt, violence and racial prejudice. It largely revolves around the interplay of power relations with the colonial settler at the top and the natives at the bottom. At interpersonal level, the adults always impose their will on the children. In effect, colonization is depicted at two levels in that, the Africans are colonized by the whites and secondly, the children are colonized by the adults who deny them the freedom to pursue their personal interest. It is notable however, that even under such strict conditions; the children always maneuver their way around the adults so as to pursue their own interests. This they do through being noncommittal, giving excuses and vague responses as in the case of Kariuki, the protagonist.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n6p267

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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