Friday, September 23, 2011

Quotes for Friday from A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo

What Karanja feared more than the rumours was their possible confirmation. As long as he did not know the truth, he could interpret the story in the only way that gave him hope: the coming of black rule would not mean, could never mean the end of white power. (P. 42)

God helps those who help themselves, it is said, with fingers pointing at a self-made man who has attained wealth and position, forgetting that thousands of others labour and starve, day in, day out, without ever improving their material lot. (P. 63)

Party leaders from the district were the first to speak. They said Jomo Kenyatta had to be released to lead Kenya to Uhuru. People would not accept any other person for the Chief Minister. They asked everyone to vote for party candidates in the coming elections: a vote for the candidate was a vote for Kenyatta. A vote for Kenyatta was a vote for the Party. A vote for the Party was a vote for the Movement. A vote for the Movement was a vote for the People. Kenyatta was the People! (P. 71)

'What thing is greater than love for one's country?...' (P. 72)

'But there is no home with a boy-child where the head of a he-goat shall not be cooked,' (P. 80)

Mbugua had earned his standing in the village through his own achievements as a warrior and a farmer. His name alone, so it is said, sent fear quivering among the enemy tribes. Those were the days before the whiteman ended tribal wars to bring in world wars. (P. 82)

A home full of children is never lonely, she always said. (P. 83)

'It is not politics, Wambuku,' he said, 'it is life. Is he a man who lets another take away his land and freedom? Has a slave life?' (P. 107)

Our people say that building a house is a life-long process. (P. 121)

Then wealth and power were not important unless they enriched that silent communion from which living things heaved and opened to the sun. The silence to which he had now returned dead. (P. 128)

One lived alone, and like Gatu, went into the grave alone. ... To live and die alone was the ultimate truth (P. 129)

A man does not go to a stranger and tear his heart open (P. 135)

'Strange, isn't it, how we give many motives to our actions to fit an occasion. ...' (P. 162)

'... The coward lived to see his mother while the brave was left dead on the battlefield. And to ward off a blow is not cowardice.' (P. 162)

A river runs along the line of least resistance. (P. 183)

'.. Those buried in the earth should remain in the earth. Things of yesterday should remain with yesterday.' (P. 190)

'She has gone back to her parents. See how you have broken your home. You have driven a good woman to misery for nothing. Let us now see what profit it will bring you, to go on poisoning your mind with these things when you should have accepted and sought how best to build your life. But you, like a foolish child, have never wanted to know what happened. Or what woman Mumbi really is.' (P. 192)

Mugo was deeply afflicted and confused, because all his life he had avoided conflicts: at home, or at school, he rarely joined the company of other boys for fear of being involved in brawls that might ruin his chances of a better future. His argument went like this: if you don't traffic with evil, then evil ought not to touch you; if you leave people alone, then they ought to leave you alone. (P. 211)

'... He who was not on our side, was against us. ..' (P. 240)


  1. I love the one from p63! I think it is so funny when people act like poverty is somehow someone's fault - it rarely is!

  2. He simply tells us that,
    To achieve the change that is greatly desired, we also have to change the way we do things

  3. Great that you are able to pull out some of the best lines from this book.

  4. it's not that difficult, if you trust your senses.

  5. plzzz i would love to have some explanations of some quotes ?


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