38 pages 1 hour read

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1967

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Symbols & Motifs

Kihika’s Bible

The different chapters of A Grain of Wheat are introduced by Bible verses that have been underlined in Kihika’s Bible, each one mirroring or in some way addressing Kihika’s political beliefs. An example includes the verse from Exodus 8:1, which reads “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, let my people go.” Kihika, a devout religious student before his incarnation as a devout revolutionary, has retained insights from the Bible and apparently used these insights to guide him in his political beliefs. Kihika is said to carry the Bible with him everywhere he goes, although he does not have it with him when he is eventually captured.

The Woods

The Kikenie Woods are referenced often throughout the narrative of A Grain of Wheat. The woods are a popular gathering place for young people, who dance and play music and pair off into couples. It is in the woods that Gikonyo and Mumbi first share their love for each other. It is also the place Kihika runs off to when he joins up with the fighters, and the scene of his capture, following his betrayal by