A Grain of Wheat Chapters 6-8 Summary & Analysis

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

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A Grain of Wheat Chapters 6-8 Summary & Analysis

Chapter Six Summary

Gikonyo had been one of the first detainees to be released back to his village. When he returned, he immediately began work as a carpenter, and then as a merchant, buying maize and beans at low prices and saving them until they were in demand. Although his wife and mother had been living in poverty, Gikonyo figured they could live that way for a while longer as he reestablished himself. Eventually, he prospered and Wangari (his mother) and Mumbi no longer had to work so hard.

Now Gikonyo and a group of five other men have gathered to buy a small farm belonging to a white man who will be leaving Kenya with the transfer to black power. Gikonyo travels to Nairobi to visit with an official, the MP, about the land purchase, and is excited by the flags and general atmosphere of celebration in Nairobi. However, he is discouraged by his visit with the official, who tells him that he will contact Gikonyo with any news. When he voices this discouragement, the official reassures him that it will all come to place because “the whites cannot do without us!” (62)

Within the last two days, the people of Thabai have begun to praise Mugo. Although he behaves strangely, this too is seen as something positive – Mugo is different from the others, a survivor of detention centers and certainly a hero. Mugo is unaware of this worship and still puzzled by the late night visit to his hut. He has made only one speech in his life, at a rally for Kenyatta. As a former detainee, he was pushed forward to speak about his imprisonment, and became disgusted with himself for talking about home. What was home to Mugo? He had no parents, no wife, and no children.

Remembering the meeting in his hut, Mugo wonders why General R. had mentioned Kihika’s betrayal and his arrangements to meet someone in a week’s time. In his thoughts, he confesses to Kihika’s betrayal, asking himself, “Yes, could they really have asked him to carve his place in society by singing tributes…

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