Ngugi wa Thiong’o: Short Stories

A Symbolic Interaction Perspective on the Black Bird in “The Black Bird” College

In Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s “The Black Bird”, Mangara, the main character, believes that the black bird is responsible for deaths in his family. His spends his whole life looking for the black bird after it kills his close family members. Mangara looks for the black bird in weird places such as the cemetery and in the woods. Mangara is preoccupied with the thoughts of the black bird and this makes him withdrawn. The idea of the black bird haunts Mangara for his whole life.Mangara is an intelligent boy who passes his exam and joins college to pursue medicine. The black bird in Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s “The Black Bird” short story is a significant symbol that shapes Mangara’s world; Mangara’s interaction with the idea of the black bird bid elucidates the subjectivity of symbolic interactions in the society.

Mangara’s symbolic interactionism with the black bird is based on the belief that the black bird is the sole cause of deaths in his family. According to Mangara, the black bird haunts him all his life as a sign of vengeance for the things that his grandfather did. Mangara narrates that his grandfather destroyed Mundu Mugo’s paraphernalia with the aim of converting him to Christianity. Mangara intimates to the narrator in “The Black Bird...

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