Read Weep Not, Child by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o Free Online
Book Title: Weep Not, Child|
The author of the book: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.10 MB
Edition: Heinemann Educational Books
Date of issue: April 30th 1988
ISBN 13: 9780435908300
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1724 times
Reader ratings: 5.4
Read full description of the books:
The story is set in Kenya around the time of the Mau Mau Rebellion (1952-1960) when the nation was still a British colony. The blurbs call this book the author’s masterpiece.
The main character is a bright young Christian boy, the only boy in his village who will pass school exams to go on to high school and then perhaps to college in England. When he gets to the high school level, it is the first time he has interacted with white people - the monks who teach at the school. Meanwhile all his older brothers (4 or 5 of them because his father has two wives) become involved in the rebellion and are hunted down and in some case tortured by the British authorities.
A British man controls the big farm in the area at which his father works. The white man also controls the black tribal village chief. Of the wealthy chief, who lives in a European-style house, the boy’s father says: “A white man is a white man. But a black man trying to be a white man is bad and harsh.” Of the lost land, the tribal leaders say “The Bible paved the way for the sword.” When the rebellion begins it was said of the white man “The machine he set in motion was working. The blacks were destroying the blacks. They would destroy themselves to the end.”
As the young boy matures, he is amazed to learn that it wasn’t always this way – village elders remember the time when the white man’s land was their own land. Local black men were also conscripted as servants to white soldiers in WW I and as soldiers in WW II. They see these European wars as “white men’s Wars.”
Young love is another theme. The main character and the tribal chiefs daughter are in love but the class difference keeps them apart as does his brothers being in the rebellion against men like her father. The violence gets so atrocious that she writes to him at school: “Fear in the air. Not a fear of death – it’s a fear of living.”
A snippet of dialog I liked:
“I wonder why he left England, the home of learning, and came here. He must be foolish.”
“I don’t know. You cannot understand a white man.”
A good story of developing African independence and rebellion against colonialism. A short read, less than 150 pages.
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bottom photo: blackthen.com
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Read information about the authorKenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers. After imprisonment in 1978, Ngũgĩ abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue. The transition from colonialism to postcoloniality and the crisis of modernity has been a central issues in a great deal of Ngũgĩ's writings.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru, Kiambu District, as the fifth child of the third of his father's four wives. At that time Kenya was under British rule, which ended in 1963. Ngũgĩ's family belonged to the Kenya's largest ethnic group, the Gikuyu. His father, Thiong'o wa Nducu, was a peasant farmer, who was forced to become a squatter after the British Imperial Act of 1915. Ngũgĩ attended the mission-run school at Kamaandura in Limuru, Karinga school in Maanguu, and Alliance High School in Kikuyu. During these years Ngũgĩ became a devout Christian. However, at school he also learned about the Gikuyu values and history and underwent the Gikuyu rite of passage ceremony. Later he rejected Christianity, and changed his original name in 1976 from James Ngũgĩ, which he saw as a sign of colonialism, to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in honor of his Gikuyu heritage.
After receiving a B.A. in English at Makerere University College in Kampala (Uganda) in 1963, Ngũgĩ worked briefly as a journalist in Nairobi. He married in 1961. Over the next seventeen years his wife, Nyambura, gave birth to six children. In 1962 Ngũgĩ's play THE BLACK HERMIT was produced in Kampala. In 1964 he left for England to pursue graduate studies at the Leeds University in England.
The most prominent theme in Ngũgĩ's early work was the conflict between the individual and the community. As a novelist Ngũgĩ made his debut with WEEP NOT, CHILD (1964), which he started to write while he was at school in England. It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African author. Ngũgĩ used the Bildungsroman form to tell the story of a young man, Njoroge. He loses his opportunity for further education when he is caught between idealistic dreams and the violent reality of the colonial exploitation. THE RIVER BETWEEN (1965) had as its background the Mau Mau Rebellion (1952-1956). The story was set in the late 1920s and 1930s and depicted an unhappy love affair in a rural community divided between Christian converts and non-Christians.
A GRAIN OF WHEAT (1967) marked Ngũgĩ's break with cultural nationalism and his embracing of Fanonist Marxism. Ngũgĩ refers in the title to the biblical theme of self-sacrifice, a part of the new birth: "unless a grain of wheat die." The allegorical story of one man's mistaken heroism and a search for the betrayer of a Mau Mau leader is set in a village, which has been destroyed in the war. The author's family was involved in the Mau Mau uprising. Ngũgĩ's older brother had joined the movement, his stepbrother was killed, and his mother was arrested and tortured. Ngũgĩ's village suffered in a campaign.
In the 1960s Ngũgĩ was a reporter for the Nairobi Daily Nation and editor of Zuka from 1965 to 1970. He worked as a lecturer at several universities - at the University College in Nairobi (1967-69), at the Makerere University in Kampala (1969-70), and at the Northwestern University in Evanston in the United States (1970-71). Ngũgĩ had resigned from his post at Nairobi University as a protest against government interference in the university, be he joined the faculty in 1973, becoming an associate professor and chairman of the department of literature. It had been formed in response to his and his colleagues' criticism of English - the British government had made in the 1950s instruction in English mandatory. Ngũgĩ had asked in an article, written with Taban lo Liyong and Henry Owuor-Anyumba, "If there is need for a 's
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