Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, "Wrestling with the Devil"
Weep Not, Child is the story of a boy, Njoroge, growing up through the years of the Kenyan Emergency. In this time, the Mau Mau fighters commit many acts of violence against the white settlers and Africans that they view as traitors, and the white authorities return this violence in kind. This novel explores the ways that this conflict affects all of those concerned.
Weep Not, Child
It was the first English novel to be published by an East African. The book is divided into two parts and eighteen chapters. Part one deals mostly with the education of Njoroge, while part two deals with the rising revolutionary, anti-colonist turmoil in Kenya. Njoroge, a young boy, is urged to attend school by his mother. He is the first one of his family able to go to school. His family lives on the land of Jacobo, an African made rich by his dealings with white settlers, namely Mr.
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Weep Not, Child
Njoroge lives with his family in central Kenya. When he is a young boy, his mother, Nyokabi , tells him he will be the first person in the family to attend school. Overwhelmed with happiness, Nyokabi runs to Kamau and tells him the good news, reveling in the idea that he will receive an education. Upon hearing that Njoroge will be going to school, Kamau congratulates his younger brother, and the two boys compare their futures, discussing the fact that both an education and a carpentry apprenticeship which is what Kamau is pursuing will benefit their family. Shortly thereafter, Njoroge gathers with his family in the evening and listens to his father tells stories about the past.
In some ways, grief is the primary driving force behind the action of Weep Not, Child. Ngotho 's resentments are fueled by grief over losing his family's land to the British. Similarly, grief drives Njoroge 's spiritual evolution. Nothing can undermine his faith in God until Ngotho dies, at which point Njoroge stops praying. Similarly, Jacobo 's death prevents Njoroge from being with Mwihaki , because she must care for her mother. As the characters cope with the deaths of their loved ones, their overwhelming grief slowly dissolves into a sense of duty that allows them to transcend their misery. Although Njoroge is nearly driven to suicide by Mwihaki's rejection and his father's death, it is the necessity of caring for his mothers which he would not have to do if Ngotho were alive that ultimately saves him.
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