38 pages 1 hour read

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1967

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Chapters 9-11

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3

Chapter 9 Summary

When Mugo was arrested, soldiers beat him so badly he believed he would die while waiting for the lorry. He was brought to Rira, where he encountered Thompson again. Thompson, not recognizing Mugo, interrogated him. Although other prisoners did not answer any questions, Mugo answered honestly that he had not taken an oath. Thompson had begun his career in prison administration believing that violence against prisoners was not necessary. However, as he was getting nowhere without it, he resorted to torture, with Mugo as a main target. The other prisoners, seeing what Mugo endured, began a hunger strike out of respect for his bravery. On the third day of the strike, a riot broke out. Many of the prisoners were violently beaten, and 11 of them died.

Recalling this, Mugo decides to tell Gikonyo about being honored at the Uhuru celebration. When he arrives at Gikonyo’s house, only Mumbi is home. She tells him that the woman he had saved from a beating before he was arrested was Wambuku, Kihika’s woman, who later died from her injuries. Then Mumbi tells Mugo about her marriage. Mugo interrupts her, saying that he has already heard the story from Gikonyo.