Plot summary[ edit ] 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 first novel, Weep Not, Childwas the first English-language novel to be published by an East African, and his account of the Mau Mau Emergency in A Grain of Wheat ; revised, presented for the first time an African perspective on the Kenyan armed revolt against British colonial rule during the s.
He has also been influential in education in East Africa and is recognized as a humanist deeply interested in the growth and well-being of his people and country. Ngugi was born on January 5,in Limuru, Kenya, and was one of the few students from Limuru to attend the elite Alliance High School.
While at Alliance, he participated in a debate in which he contended that Western educations were harmful to African students. The headmaster subsequently counseled Ngugi against becoming a political agitator. Ngugi became influenced by the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, developing an ardent opposition to colonialism, Christianity, and other non-African influences in Kenya.
During this period, he also began to write plays and novels criticizing Kenyan society and politics.
Ngugi wrote his first novel, Weep Not, Child, while he was a student at Makerere. Ngugi published his last English-language novel, Petals of Blood, in Due to his vocal opposition of the injustices perpetrated by the postcolonial Kenyan government, Ngugi was arrested and imprisoned without charge in the Kamoto Maximum Security Prison from December to December While imprisoned, Ngugi wrote his memoirs, Detained: He began writing his first Gikuyu novel, Devil on the Cross, on sheets of toilet paper from his cell.
Upon his release from detention, Ngugi lost his position at the University of Nairobi. When his theatre group was banned by Kenyan officials inNgugi, fearing further reprisals, left his country for a self-imposed exile. After the release of Matigari ma Njiruungi Matigari inthe Kenyan government issued a warrant for the arrest of the main character, thinking that Matigari was a real living person.
Eventually realizing their mistake, the government confiscated all copies of the novel and prevented it from being sold in Kenyan bookshops from to He has since taught at several universities, including Yale University where he held a regular visiting appointment as Professor of English and Comparative Literature from to He has received numerous awards such as the Nonino International Prize, the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Cabinet, and a honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Njoroge, the protagonist in Weep Not, Child, is prevented from pursuing his education by the Mau Mau, or Gikuyu militants. Consumed with despair, he eventually attempts suicide.
Within the four-day fictional present, Ngugi conveys—principally through a series of interlocking flashbacks—the personal histories of the protagonists, focusing on their experiences under the state of emergency, while also presenting an outline of the history of Kenyan resistance to colonial rule.
Petals of Blood offers a scathing critique of capitalism and accuses wealthy landowners and bureaucrats of exploiting the poor and working classes. The novel concerns four principal characters who are being held by police on suspicion of murder—Karega, a teacher and labor organizer; Munira, headmaster of a public school in the town of Ilmorog; Abdulla, a half-Indian shopkeeper who was once a guerrilla fighter during the war of independence; and Wanja, a barmaid and former prostitute.
The novel opens with Matigari emerging from the forest after years of hunting—and ultimately killing—a man named Settler Williams and his faithful retainer, John Boy.
Matigari is thrown into jail but mysteriously escapes—he has an almost supernatural ability to change his appearance and seems invulnerable to rocks and bullets. He is sent to a mental hospital but escapes again, vowing to take up arms to reclaim his house.
After being mauled by police dogs, the wounded Matigari burns down the house and is carried away by a swollen river to an indeterminate end.
The Trial of Dedan Kimathi was written in response to a play by Kenneth Watene, which characterized Kimathi, the leader of the Mau Mau uprising, as a crazed and brutal paranoiac.
The symbolic focus of I Will Marry When I Want is the framed deed, to one and a half acres of land, that hangs in the house of a farm laborer, Kiguunda wa Gathoni, and his wife, Wangeci. Kioi convinces Kiguunda to mortgage the land so that he can pay for a Christian wedding service in order to cleanse his sinful, traditional marriage.
Unfortunately, John seduces Gathoni and abandons her after she becomes pregnant. The essays in Homecoming: Writers in Politics and Decolonising the Mind: The Struggle for Cultural Freedoms Based on a series of lectures that Ngugi delivered at Oxford University inthe essays in Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams: Toward a Critical Theory of the Arts and the State in Africa discuss the role of the writer in contemporary African society and the complex relationship between art and the state.
Critical Reception Critics have consistently acknowledged Ngugi as an important voice in African letters. He has been called the voice of the Kenyan people by certain commentators, while others have lauded his novels as among the most underrated and highest quality to come from Africa.
Moreover, reviewers have asserted that his nonfiction work has provided a much-needed African perspective on world affairs.The study is based on the premise that name symbolism and character typology is an approach to the literary productions of Ngugi Wa Thiong'o that remains unexplored to date.
In this thesis "Name Symbolism and Character Types in Ngugi wa Thiongo's later Novels we undertake to open up this area for literary discussion.
‘Weep Not, Child’ is a very powerful book by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. Published in , it is Ngugi’s first book and one of his most acclaimed ones. Published in , it . Weep Not, Child is Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's first novel, published in under the name James Ngugi. It was the first English novel to be published by an East African.
Thiong'o's works deal with the relationship between Africans and the British colonists in Author: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o. Jun 16, · Since Weep Not, Child (), which was the first East African novel in English, most of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's writing has been in that language, but .
Weep Not, Child is a beautiful book about how colonialism in Kenya tears apart families. It is stark, simple, and lovingly executed. This book can also be read in one sitting, which is another of its attributes, because that allows its full emotional impact to work with intensity on the reader/5.
Weep Not, Child is full of evidence that infighting between Africans was a major problem during the Mau Mau uprising. Ngugi suggests that some of it may have been justified; for instance, Jacobo is a truly villainous character, and we are meant to sympathize with Ngotho when he attacks him.