Minutes of Glory by Ngugi wa Thingo and The Essay

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This essay focuses on the theme is that of longing and desperation as explored in the two stories; Minutes of Glory by Ngugi Wa Thingo and The Keeper of the Virgins by H. Al-Shaykh. The two writers may even use a similar genre but their stories will have different settings and characters and settings…

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The two stories are from writers with very different backgrounds yet their stories have many similarities. Ngugi Wa Thiongo is a Kenyan writer who has extensively written on the Kenyan culture and the western influence on the culture among many other themes (Achebe & Innes xi). Hanan Al-Shaykh, on the other hand, is a woman who was born and brought up in Beirut. This shows the universality of the themes of literature that makes them applicable in any setting, be it in an African country like Kenya or any other place. The way the themes are explored however is usually different as will be seen in the two stories.
Minutes of glory is a short story by a Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiongo. In this story, the main protagonist is Beatrice (who preferred her Christian name Beatrice because according to her it sounded ‘purer and more beautiful’). Beatrice suffers from a low self-esteem and is in search of acceptance from the society. Beatrice constantly complains of the hardships that she has faced in her life and is dissatisfied with the fact that people do not seem to take notice of her. In the attempt to change her life, Beatrice steals money from a customer and runs to Nairobi (the capital) in the search for a better life. It is in Nairobi that she feels she can finally achieve the happiness that she desires (Halpern 557).
The story follows the experiences of Beatrice in her quest to find recognition and find her place in the world. Being a school dropout because of lack of school fees means she does not have bright prospects of employment. Her naivety causes her to fall prey to the promises of a man who promises her employment but dumps her after having a one night stand with her. She, therefore, finds herself trapped in a world that is not familiar to her (in Nairobi). Eventually, she is left with no choice but to resort to becoming a prostitute, which is completely dehumanizing to the woman.
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