38 pages 1 hour read

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1967

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Chapters 6-8

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 6 Summary

Gikonyo was one of the first detainees released. When he returned to the village, he immediately began work as a carpenter, and then as a merchant, buying maize and beans at low prices and saving them until they were in demand. Although his wife and mother had been living in poverty, Gikonyo did not support them while he reestablished himself. Eventually, he prospered and eased the lives of his mother Wangari and Mumbi.

Now Gikonyo and a group of five other men have gathered to buy a small farm belonging to a white man leaving Kenya after the transfer to home rule. Gikonyo travels to Nairobi to visit an MP about the land purchase. The flags and general atmosphere of celebration in Nairobi excite him. However, the official does not help him, and tells him that he will contact Gikonyo with any news. When Gikonyo voices his discouragement, the official reassures him that “The loans are there. It is just a question of knowing the ways” (63).

The people of Thabai praise Mugo. Although he behaves strangely, this too is seen as something positive—Mugo is different from the others, a survivor of detention centers, and certainly a hero.