The novel also features flashbacks of the past. Mugo, an introverted villager of Thabai, does not want to give a speech at Uhuru, even though town elders ask him to. He is restless and can achieve no peace in the village. Those planning Uhuru want to honor him. Most people, including General R.
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The novel also features flashbacks of the past. Mugo, an introverted villager of Thabai, does not want to give a speech at Uhuru, even though town elders ask him to. He is restless and can achieve no peace in the village. Those planning Uhuru want to honor him. Most people, including General R. They plan on executing him at Uhuru. Mugo was not the only man from Thabai who spent time in detention camp.
Gikonyo, a well-respected businessman and former carpenter, was also taken to a camp. Before the camp he was very much in love with his beautiful wife Mumbi, the sister of Kihika.
He had won her love even though many, including Karanja, a friend of Kihika, sought her love as well. He dreamt of her while he was away, and was horrified to find out that Mumbi had borne a child by Karanja while he was gone those years. He does not believe they can ever repair their relationship, and he throws himself into his work.
He tries to cultivate the approval of the DO, Roger Thompson, who is stationed there with his wife Margery. Thompson was once destined for an illustrious career, but it was derailed by a hunger strike and violence at Rira, the camp where Mugo was.
Now Thompson is at Githima, but is preparing to return to Britain because he does not want to be around when whites are no longer in charge. Karanja did not join the freedom movement but rather started to work for the whiteman, first joining the homeguard and then becoming Chief during the Emergency.
This incurred a lot of resentment from people; however, Karanja was simply looking out for himself. Mumbi, distressed that her husband no longer loves her, comes to see Mugo.
She confides in him the story of how she and Gikonyo fell in love, and how sad she was when he was away in camp. She begs Mugo to come to Uhuru; on a second visit to him, she begs him again.
Mugo becomes violent and says he betrayed Kihika. Mumbi is shocked, but she does not want any more blood shed for her brother. Uhuru arrives, the day first rainy and then sunny.
People are joyful and all of them want to see Mugo, even though he has said he is not coming. There are games and speeches. They stumble, though, and Gikonyo breaks his arm and has to go to the hospital.
General R. Mugo comes out of the crowd and says it is he who did it; he feels a sense of freedom at first, quickly followed by terror. No one accosts him, and the confused crowd parts and lets him go. Later, General R. Mugo makes peace with this, deciding he will accept his punishment. Some of the village elders feel that Uhuru did not go well, and that there is something wrong.
Karanja heads back to Githima. He is unhappy and considers killing himself in front of a train. Ultimately, he decides against this. Gikonyo wakes in the hospital and finds himself ready to make amends with Mumbi. When she visits him, he tells her he is ready to speak of the child he has assiduously ignored since he came back.
She tells him it must wait until they can have a serious and heartfelt discussion of their wants and needs. He is happy, and plans to carve a stool featuring an image of a pregnant Mumbi. Characters[ edit ] Mugo, a loner who became a hero after leading a hunger strike in a British concentration camp and trying to stop a village guard from beating a pregnant woman to death. Although he is thought to be a hero throughout the whole book, he is the traitor who betrayed Kihika to the British in the hope of collecting a reward.
Gikonyo, an ambitious carpenter and business man married to Mumbi. He confessed to taking the oath of the resistance while in a concentration camp, securing an early release only to find that his wife had borne a child with his hated rival Karanja while he was away. Mumbi, the wife of Gikonyo and sister of Kihika.
While Gikonyo was imprisoned she slept with Karanja, who had been appointed village chief by the colonial power. Karanja, a collaborator with the British and widely suspected to be the traitor. Kihika, a resistance fighter who conquered a police station and killed the hated District Officer Robson. He was caught and hanged after being betrayed by Mugo. John Thompson, an early British settler and administrator of Thabai, who believes in the ideals of colonial imperialism and persecutes black Africans.
Major Themes[ edit ] Colonialism and its Legacies[ edit ] Kenya was colonized by the British in and was not independent until In the subsequent years the country struggled to negotiate a post-colonial reality in which the divisions caused by political and economic oppression, the Emergency, violence, racism, exploitation of rivalry and competition amongst Kenyans, and psychological trauma endured and deepened. Even though Ngugi does not take his readers into the days after colonialism, he hints at the difficulties the characters will face.
Colonialism is an inescapable reality, even after it is ostensibly over. Betrayal, Guilt, and Redemption[ edit ] Almost every character feels guilty about something in this novel, and those sources of guilt tend to derive from a betrayal of another character or of the Kenyan people. Mumbi has betrayed her husband, Karanja has betrayed his people by becoming a homeguard and Chief, and Mugo has betrayed Kihika.
These characters manifest their guilt differently, with both Mumbi and Mugo eventually taking the path toward redemption while Karanja can only choose that of exile. Forgiveness[ edit ] Many of the characters in this novel do reprehensible things: they betray loved ones and their community and the Movement, they commit acts of violence, they engage in selfishness and bitterness, and they compete and fight with each other.
Some characters ask for forgiveness either directly or subtly , while others do not. Forgiveness is important on both a personal and communal level, and those levels are related to each other. Individuals must work to forgive those who have wronged them in order to work together to build a stronger community.
In the vacuum left by British rule, it will be more important than ever for Kenyans to trust each other, work together, and create a mutually sustaining and fulfilling community. Violence[ edit ] Violence is an undeniable part of the Movement. Many characters carry out violent acts, speak positively of violence, or ignore it when it happens in front of them.
Others decry and excoriate it, but usually this happens when the British or their African loyalists do it. He understands that violence is necessary to the Mau Mau because occasionally it is the only tool they have in their quest to throw off their colonial oppressor. That oppressor uses violence with abandon, so why should the oppressed not rise up and use violence for their own ends?
Lynd make the reader uncomfortable and hint at some of the problems of using violence in promoting human rights. Silence and Confession[ edit ] Silence in this novel rarely leads to redemption, whereas confession does. It is mistaken for courage and helps create the mythic reputation he has in the village, but it is false.
Silence can also lead to death, as it does for the deaf and mute Gitogo. Real healing only happens when someone speaks up, confesses, and reveals secrets.
A Grain of Wheat Summary & Study Guide
A Grain of Wheat chronicles the events leading up to Kenyan independence, or Uruhu, in a Kenyan village. Gikonyo and Mumbi are newlyweds in love when Gikonyo is sent to detention. Instead of talking about their trials, a wall of anger separates them. Mugo becomes a hero through leading a hunger strike in detention, and the town wants him to become a political leader. Mugo, though, struggles with guilt and ultimately confesses that he betrayed Kihika.
A Grain of Wheat
Mumbi v. Waiyaki This book is more focusing on Fanonist- Marxism and also the poor of the Africa who were replaced by the white people and Britishers. Thus clearly these lines lead us to the post-colonial point-of-view regarding the narration of the text itself. I write about my people. I am interested in their hidden lives and hates and how the very tension in their hearts affects their daily contact with other men. The novel starts in the village Thabai, just a few days before Kenyan independence of the village and has been selected as a day in December, Uhuru Day.
A Grain of Wheat Summary
The novel also features flashbacks of the past. Mugo , an introverted villager of Thabai, does not want to give a speech at Uhuru, even though town elders ask him to. He is restless and can achieve no peace in the village. Those planning Uhuru want to honor him. Most people, including General R. They plan on executing him at Uhuru. Mugo was not the only man from Thabai who spent time in detention camp.