Show how Ngugi uses his narrative to contrast the inner emotional qualities in his characters- (chapter 7 pages 99-107)
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Show how Ngugi uses his narrative to contrast the inner emotional qualities in his characters- (chapter 7 pages 99-107) After a long hard struggle, In 1963 Kenya was finally on the verge of grasping their long awaited independence from the British. The novel, 'A Grain of Wheat', takes the reader back to the period between the fighting and the so-called 'new world'. It is a true manifestation of emotional individuality of both the colonized and colonizer alike, where they reflect on what has been gained by their triumph, but more importantly what has been lost in their fight for sovereignty. It is a poignant novel of love, betrayal and sacrifice, which in them selves are strong emotional qualities, and are only emphasized by the narrative. In this extract it becomes clear that Ngugi allows the reader to decide what the characters are feeling by contrasting different events and characters, sometimes even by distinguishing between past and present actions. Therefore it is suggested that through the contrasting narrative Ngugi wants the reader to make certain judgments upon his characters. The first contrast that comes into light is the revelation of Kihika's departure to fight in the forest and join the other freedom fighters.
This aim is consequently revealed by the fact that it was 'her love and tenderness that saved him'. By presenting the narrative in this order, Ngugi makes us the readers to compare and contrast the different emotional qualities and make our own judgment upon the characters and where the characters are put into an emotional dilemma, should they give up the one they love for the greater and wider cause? Before this extract we see the relationship between Mumbi and Gikonyo filled with tension as he speaks through his teeth and would rather go over figures than talk to his wife. This is strongly contrasted with the couple that is presented to the reader in this extract; where there is evidence to suggest that they depend on each other. Again this is another example of the devastating consequences of the fight for freedom, where love disappears and betrayal sets in. When Gikonyo is walking into the detention camp he has very high spirits believing that 'it will all be over soon' and that they will be able to sing the 'new song and the birth of freedom' However the shift in the narrative describes a entirely different man who is leaving the detention camp.
This lively and energetic story brings the spirits of the detainees up, however it can be argued that this is mere entertainment since Gatu only acts in this way as he has an audience. This is contrasted by the fact that when he is alone 'his face grows weary'. His story of self-sacrifice suggests that Gatu is talking from the heart since there is no humor and he 'spoke in a voice clear, colorless and not raised'. We are again brought back to the question of sacrifice, according to Gatu Gikonyo must not focus on his own pain or loss but must focus on the cause and remain united. Throughout the extract we see that there are breaks in relationships as a cause of the fight for independence, where betrayal and sacrifice seem to be the two primal factors in the character's thoughts the contrast between the past and the present reflects the different emotional qualities of Ngugi's characters. However the author does not directly demonstrate this through the narrative but allows the reader to make our own conclusion and to deduce our own opinions on the events. I believe that Ngugi is asking the reader to ask themselves one question, was the fight for freedom worth all the pain and the suffering?
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