Quotes for Friday from Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The River Between

[T]he oilskin of the house is not for rubbing into the skin of strangers. [P.3]

She had learnt the value of Christian submission, and she thought every other believer had the same attitude to life. Not that she questioned life. It had given her a man and in her own way she loved and cared for him. Her faith and belief in God were coupled with her fear for Joshua. But that was religion and it was the way things were ordered. However, one could still tell by her eyes that this was a religion learnt and accepted; inside the true Gikuyu woman was sleeping. [P. 34]

A young man who rises to leadership is always a target of jealousy for his equals, for those older than himself and for those who think they could have been better leaders. [P.63]

Nyambura knew then that she could never be saved by Christ; that the Christ who died could only be meaningful if Waiyaki was there for her to touch, for her to feel and talk to. She could only be saved through Waiyaki. Waiyaki was her saviour, her black Messiah, the promised one who would come and lead her into the light. [P.103]

Circumcision of women was not important as a physical operation. It was what it did inside a person. It could not be stopped overnight. Patience and, above all, education, were needed. [P.142]

If the white man's religion made you abandon a custom and then did not give you something else of equal value, you became lost. [P.142]

The land was now silent. The two ridges lay side by side, hidden in darkness. And Honia river went on flowing between them, down through the valley of life, its beat rising above the dark stillness, reaching into the heart of the people of Makuyu and Kameno. [P.152]


  1. Ngugi is always noted for writing beautiful sentences. Would add this book to my list of books to be read from Ngugi.

  2. yes, i had the book for 5 years before i read it a few weeks ago. when i picked it up, i was finished in 2 days...it was just the right time to receive the message now i guess. but i will definitely read it again. thanks for the quotes

  3. Thanks for the quote, I have just been refreshing my knowledge after along while since I last read the novel. It's awesome!

  4. What does the first quote mean? I never really got to know more about what it meant. Can someone please explain it further?

  5. What does the first quote mean? I never really got to know more about what it meant. Can someone please explain it further?

  6. I appreciate the quotes as they are helpful in my teaching of the Novel

  7. Awwwww
    The River Between
    Memories of GCSE English Literature at St Johns high school


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