Weep Not, Child Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Weep Not, Child was the second novel Ngugi wrote and his first novel to be published. Set in Kenya in the turbulent 1950’s, the novel tells the story of a family and how it is affected by the open antagonisms between natives and colonists. When the novel opens, the family is poor but happy and harmonious; the course of the novel traces the disintegration of the family. The protagonist, Njoroge, is a young boy who wants more than anything to receive an education and is thrilled to attend a missionary school. His father, Ngotho, is a tenant farmer on land owned by Jacobo, a wealthy African farmer. Ngotho works for the British Mr. Howlands on a tea plantation that is Ngotho’s ancestral land. He waits patiently for the time when the gods will fulfill the prophecy and deliver his people from their oppression. His older son, Boro, has returned from military service in World War II, bitter, disillusioned, and having learned of the white man’s violence.

Boro loathes his father’s passivity. In an effort to appease Boro, Ngotho becomes involved with a strike and leads an attack on Jacobo, who attempts to quell the strikers. Consequently, Ngotho loses his job. Boro becomes a guerrilla leader and political activist who ultimately kills both Howlands and Jacobo. Although Boro is arrested and sentenced to be hanged, Ngotho confesses to killing Jacobo and is tortured and killed. Njoroge, who is now about nineteen, is arrested, though innocent, as his...

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Weep Not, Child Bibliography (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

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Gikandi, Simon. Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Gurnah, Abdulrazak, ed. Essays on African Writing: A Re-evaluation. London: Heinemann, 1993.

Harrow, Kenneth W. Thresholds of Change in African Literature: The Emergence of a Tradition. London: Heinemann, 1994.

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Larson, Charles R. The Emergence of African Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971.

Lindfors, Bernth, and Bala Kothandaraman, eds. The Writer as Activist: South Asian Perspectives on Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2001.

Nazareth, Peter, ed. Critical Essays on Ngugi wa Thiong’o. New York: Twayne, 2000.

Ogude, James. Ngugi’s Novels and African History: Narrating the Nation. Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press, 1999.

Palmer, Eustace. An Introduction to the African Novel. New York: Africana, 1972.

Popkin, Michael. Modern Black Writers. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1978.

Sander, Reinhard, and Bernth Lindfors, eds. Ngugi wa Thiong’o Speaks: Interviews with the Kenyan Writer. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2006.