"A Grain Of Wheat" by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

Essay by hunuamuz September 2006

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In the novel "A Grain of Wheat" by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, the character of Mugo undergoes a number crisis' throughout the novel. His presentation in these situations is critical to the reader's interpretation of him and adds to the impression he leaves them with. His situation in the passage is one of remembrance. This theme runs strongly through the novel and contributes to its overall effect upon the reader.

The passage begins with the statement, "Mugo went out." This statement has a sense of finality to it and suggests that he won't return the same person as he went out. "As he walked through the night, many scenes flashed across his mind; he would be frightened, thrilled, repelled in turns at each succeeding scene." This suggests Mugo's insecurity and his fragileness. He goes through his life reliving momentous moments that he has experienced and feels their effect for a second time.

In this situation it is especially significant because of the "cold air and anonymous night" represent those feeling's in reality.

The inclusion of the bible is particularly significant because they represent his feeling's regarding the current situation. "He shall judge the poor of the people; he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. The words tickled something in him, the disturbed a memory" The memories that these words disturb are memories of obvious discomfort for Mugo, they are of the Whiteman. "Whenever he thought of the Whiteman, he always pictured a man smoking a cigarette and a standing train that vomited out smoke." In Mugo's mind this image could be one of oppressiveness, and proving of the Whiteman's continued dominion over him. This image contrasts severely with the surrounding environment, which is one of growth, fresh fields, the sun...