38 pages 1 hour read

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1967

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Chapters 4-5

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2

Chapter 4 Summary

A Mr. Rogers, later killed by a train at the Githima railway crossing, had established a forestry research station in the Githima forests. The most recent death at this crossing was that of Dr. Henry Van Dyke, a drunken meteorologist. His death may have been suicide, according to African workers, who claim Van Dyke had sworn to kill himself when Jomo Kenyatta was released from detention, and that had recently occurred.

British DO John Thompson summons Karanja, who works in the library at the agricultural office, and asks him to deliver a letter to Thompson’s wife. Karanja laments that he often has to run petty errands such as this for Thompson or for the librarian, Mrs. Dickinson, who sometimes sends him to buy meat for her dogs. Karanja arrives at the Thompsons’ bungalow and sees Margery Thompson tending to her rose garden. She invites Karanja inside the house and feels a sexual stirring in Karanja’s presence. She invites him to have a cup of coffee. Meanwhile, Karanja wonders if he should ask her whether she and her husband would leave Kenya and return to Great Britain with the Uhuru approaching.