Alcohol and drug abuse in fragmenting social identities among youths: Analysis of selected Kenyan fiction


  • Vincent Odhiambo Oduor Department of Language and Literature Education, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya
  • Jairus Omuteche Department of Language and Literature Education, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya
  • David W. Yenjela Department of Linguistic and Literature, SEKU, Kenya


drugs abuse, fragmented identities, postmodernism, young adults


This study examines the problems of excessive drug abuse and addiction among the Kenyan youths as represented in young adult fiction written by Kenyans. The study is motivated by works of a few popular fiction writers of 1970’s who introduced topics such as drug abuse and addiction in their works. These topics had been considered taboo by the early African writers of the 1960s but it is only recently that the same topics have been accepted in youth fiction. This study therefore discusses these writings as pictures that reflect how life of drugs affect the identity formation of the Kenyan youth. In the process of its enquiry, the study employs postmodern literary theory because young adults show themselves as unstable figures. They embody many ambiguities and contradiction. Qualitative in nature, this study employs data obtained from close reading of the selected literary texts. It therefore comes to a conclusion that the life of addict is presented as a life on the margins of society. They are either ignored or pitied by their surroundings, with rare occurrences of helpers, while the institutions prove to be ineffective and powerless. The unfortunate endings in the novels that portray addicts as vulnerable serve as a warning to young people to avoid drugs. These novels include, Moraa Gitaa’s The Shark Attack (2014), Meja Mwangi’s Kill Me Quick (1974), Elizabeth Kabui’s Was Nyakeeru My Father?(2014).


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How to Cite

Oduor, V. O., Omuteche, J., & Yenjela, D. W. (2022). Alcohol and drug abuse in fragmenting social identities among youths: Analysis of selected Kenyan fiction. Hybrid Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies, 4(2).