The Mwindo Epic: A Literary Analysis

1783 Words 8 Pages
Fiction reflects the thoughts, aspirations, and struggles of its author. Through literary works, one can come to understand a cultural consciousness previously unbeknownst to them. With this in mind, historians have learned to use rather than ignore literature as an aid in their studies. Vernacular and modern tales of the Congo region capture both the fantastical and factual elements. Epics, like The Mwindo Epic, echo the foundation of Congolese culture form which thereafter conflict has arisen from. The modern-day Congolese imagination, formed by this ancient epic, is permeated with the historic conflicts of the recent past. The mysticism of The Mwindo Epic has left a noticeable impact on the current Congolese imagination. One area that mystical …show more content…
Unfortunately for her, when all of Shemwindo’s other wives have delivered their daughter her anguish persists (Biebuyck & Mateene 1969 53). Even in the womb, Mwindo somehow miraculously provides food and firewood for his suffering mother (Biebuyck & Mateene 1969 53). The mystical elements surrounding Mwindo's birth help establish his status as a hero in the eyes and ears of the readers and listeners as like most other epics performers recite The Mwindo Epic orally (although in this case it is written in a book). Unexplainable events relating to one individual throughout Congolese history have been attributed to the individual's valiant persona partially due to the influence of The Mwindo Epic in the Congolese …show more content…
After Mwindo slaughters Dragon, Nkuba honors the blood contract between himself and Dragon and calls upon Mwindo to punish him accordingly (Biebuyck & Mateene 1969 137-138). Nkuba berates Mwindo stating, "We have respect for you, just that much; otherwise, you would vanish right here (Biebuyck & Mateene 1969 138).” Nkuba easily overpowers the overconfident, arrogant Mwindo, and teaches him an important lesson in humility. The notion that the spiritual world interferes in human affairs when the leadership is lacking establishes a feeling of hope in the Congolese imagination for those struggling to survive under oppressive leaders later in

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