A Grain of Wheat Chapters 9-11 Summary & Analysis

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

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A Grain of Wheat Chapters 9-11 Summary & Analysis

Part III

Chapter Nine Summary

When Mugo was arrested, he was beaten by soldiers and while waiting for the lorry believed he would die. He was brought to Rira, where he encountered Thompson again. Thompson, apparently not recognizing Mugo, interrogated him. Although other prisoners had not been answering any questions, Mugo answered honestly that he had not taken an oath. Thompson had begun his career in prison administration believing that violence against prisoners was not necessary. However, as he was getting nowhere without it, he began to resort to beatings, with Mugo as a main target. The other prisoners, seeing what Mugo endured, began to respect his bravery and began a hunger strike. On the third day of the strike, a riot broke out. Many of the prisoners were violently beaten, and eleven of them died.

Recalling this, Mugo decides to tell Gikonyo that he will be honored at the Uhuru celebration. When he arrives at Gikonyo’s house, only Mumbi is home. She tells him that the woman he saved from a beating was Wambuku, Kihika’s woman, who did later die from her injuries. Then Mumbi begins to tell Mugo about her own marriage. Mugo interrupts her, saying that he has already heard the story from Gikonyo. But Mumbi relates a different tale.

Mumbi and her mother-in-law, Wangeri, were forced to burn their huts while the British cleared the ridges and forced the people into the village of Thabai. Mumbi was forced to take on the responsibility of a man and do a man’s physical labor. While Mumbi and her mother-in-law struggled, Karanja came by occasionally to offer assistance. At first Mumbi refused. Then the British ordered that a trench be built around the settlement to further confine the people. Mumbi and her mother-in-law were forced to dig the trench. The work was hard and the people were starving. Karanja came to her again, urging her to take the food he offered and promising that he did not betray Kihika. Although she despised Karanja for working with the white men, Mumbi later returned to Karanja to ask for his help to get her…

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