Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Mugo (MEW-goh), a farmer, reared by his drunken aunt. He has always felt himself to be an outsider. Naturally self-protective because he is alone in the world, he fears those involved in the revolutionary movement (Mau Mau) that seeks to overthrow the British rulers. He is especially envious of one of his peers, Kihika, who speaks in favor of independence. He also yearns to sacrifice himself for a larger purpose. When he intervenes to stop a pregnant woman from being beaten by a British policeman, he is imprisoned. His silence makes him appear mysterious, and rumors abound regarding his heroic defiance in jail. The villagers claim him as a local hero and are stunned when he finally admits having betrayed Kihika. Wambui and General R. execute him.


Karanja (kah-RAHN-jah), an opportunist and collaborator with the British. He works at the Githima Library and serves as a go-between for Mrs. Dickinson, the librarian and mistress of John Thompson. During the state of emergency, he works himself up to leader of the homeguards (who worked for the British) and is named chief of the village of Thabai. He becomes notorious for his cruelty. After independence, he flees.


Mumbi (MEWM-bee), one of the most beautiful women in the region, Kihika’s sister and wife of Gikonyo. During her...

(The entire section is 540 words.)