I WILL MARRY WHEN I WANT BY NGŨGĨ WA THIONGO AND NGŨGĨ
Ngũgĩ Wa Thiongo diverges from his usual writings when he
teams up with Ngũgĩ Wa Mirii to pen this beautiful play; I will Marry when I
want. Ill marry when I want is a play set after the independence of Kenya. The
book is based on Marx cist criticism at post independence time. The play revolves
around Kiguunda, a peasant farm Laborer and his wife Wangeci who are leaving in
abject poverty on a one and half acre “waste land”. They live in a square,
mud-walled, white ochred, one roomed house which goes further to describe the
poverty in which they are in. Gathoni their daughter and only child, is
impregnated by Kio’s son, John Muhuuni. Kio, better known as Ahab Kio wa Kanoru
together with his wife Jezebel later pay the Kiguunda’s a visit and Kiguunda
and Wangeci are convinced that the visit was meant to seek their daughter’s
hand in marriage to their son John Muhuuni. Much to the disappointment of
Kiguunda and Wangeci, John Muhuuni jilts Gathoni when he learns that she is
pregnant with his child. Kio manages to convince Kiguunda to take a loan from a
bank where he is director.
When Kiguunda confronts Kio about his son’s behavior of
impregnating his daughter Gathoni, things turn out ugly and Kiguunda actually
threatens to kill Kio who is saved by his wife Jezebel. They later auction Kiguunda’s
wasteland and Kio buys it and plans to put up an insecticide factory being
funded by American, German and Japanese investors.
Kiguunda, Wangeci and the Gicaamba’s’ become disillusioned
people. The hope they had of a better life after independence is all lost as
they are forced to work under difficult conditions in coffee farms and
factories earning little wages that cannot even sustain them. For example
Kiguunda cannot afford to pay fees for his daughter Gathoni to go to school.
They are forced to live on a one and half acre waste land, their only land and
in a one roomed shanty.
Gicaamba’s disillusionment comes out from his long
monologues where he lays out on the table his frustrations and dashed dreams.
The play comes to end after Kiguunda looses his land and is
bought at an auction by “The oppressor, Son of grab and take” better known as
Kio. The peasants unite to reject the new religion and alcohol.
Analysis of the Title Deed as a symbol in the play.
The title deed recurs several times in the play, it seems to
be a very well protected document but in real sense it is the most endangered
item from the beginning of the play. The falling of the title deed from the
wall goes further to heighten the insecurity of the title deed which is their
only “security.” When the title deed falls of from the wall in the presence of
Kiguunda and Kio, none of them pick it up except Gicaamba. There is too much
tension and both of them react in the same way to try and play cools on the
incident. The falling symbolizes the letting go that the Kiguunda’s will later
do as they acquire a loan with it as security. Kiguunda picks it up several
times and stares hard at it as if trying to understand something which he can’t.
He later uses it to acquire a loan to help him have a church weeding and buy
new clothes which they idolize. This goes to show that the title deed
symbolizes idolatry. The title deed represents exploitation and greed; it
represents ignorance if it is not used wisely as it will lead to poverty.