(RE)definition of femininity in Henry Ole Kulet’s fiction: blossoms of the Savannah and vanishing herds
This study interrogates (re)presentation of women characters in Blossoms of the Savannah and Vanishing Herds. It looks at how such (re) presentation of female characters defines and redefines femininity within the Maasai social environment of the texts. The research then focuses on a comparative analysis of such (re) presentation of femininity in both texts. To satisfy these objectives I have employed the use of Womanism strand of feminism whose proponent Nigerian Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi contends serves as the rallying point for the women of African ancestry in their struggle to effectively assert their humanity in the face of the malevolent attitude of the men folk towards their self-fulfillment in life. Applying Womanism theory the study has done a close textual analysis of the two novels on the condition of the women characters in every text independently. My findings on Blossoms of the Savannah shows how the protagonist Resian‘s determination to pursue education in spite of resistance from a community still tied to retrogressive practices like FGM redefines the position of the women in that society. In Vanishing Herds the lead character is a woman called Norpisia. She redefines femininity in the society she lives in by her aggressive character when she fights for the conservation of the environment from degradation. In many instances she reminds us of the iconic environmentalist conservationist Wangari Maathai whose efforts at conservation of the environment won her accolades. Within the scope and limitation of my study I was restrained from expounding more on style in the two books. However, I feel that there is room for more research on the stylistic features of the two texts. It is an area that deserves scholarly attention as concerns the works of Henry ole Kulet and the role that he gives women. Such research will not only aid better understanding of his repertoire, but also shed light into how literature is reflecting the changes taking place in our society.