38 pages 1 hour read

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1967

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Chapters 12-13Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 12 Summary

Gikonyo returns home in a foul mood. Mumbi tells him that Mugo said he would not participate in the Uhuru ceremony. As Gikonyo and Mumbi speak, her child enters the room and begins to chat with Gikonyo. He roughly pushes the child away and then, at Mumbi’s rebuke, slaps her and calls her a whore. Wangari intervenes, but Gikonyo runs from the house.

Because the MP assured Gikonyo that he would soon be able to buy a farm with a loan the MP could secure, Gikonyo and five others gather to plan how to raise half the money for the land up front. Yet when Gikonyo visits the farm, he sees that it is under new ownership—the MP has bought it. Trying to force the unpleasantness with the land situation and with Mumbi out of his mind, Gikonyo visits Warui to discuss Party business. Since Mugo will not speak at the Uhuru ceremony, Gikonyo asks Warui to accompany him to Mugo’s hut.

After his conversation with Mumbi and General R., Mugo sets out to walk through the village, his mind uneasy. He comes across the portion of the trench that he had been forced to dig and recalls the day when a homeguard began viciously beating the woman who was working next to Mugo.