How does A Grain Of Wheat address freedom and the Kenyan struggle for Independence?

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The events that take place in A Grain of Wheat occur in the aftermath of British colonizers arriving in Kenya and stamping down their authority by building a massive railroad. The reaction of the various characters to this interference by the British forms the crux of this novel.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o addresses freedom by detailing the dissatisfaction of characters like Kihika, who encourages the implementation of guerilla warfare tactics against the British.

The Kenyan struggle for independence is detailed by events such as the capture of the Mahee police post and the assassination of District Officer Thomas Robson.

The novel continues by dealing with Kenya regaining its independence in 1963 and details the unmasking of those who betrayed the revolutionary movement.

Freedom and Kenya's struggle for independence are the main themes of this great book.

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In A Grain of Wheat, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o presents numerous moral dilemmas that individual Kenyans faced regarding their participation, or lack thereof, in the independence movement. Contextualizing the large issues through this individual focus, the author examines the contradictions that arise when motives and behavior are misidentified. Freedom must be achieved within each person, he emphasizes, as well as achieved in political terms.

The character of Mugo most obviously exemplifies these paradoxes; the stages through which he passes range from apathy to opposition through being misunderstood, and finally to honesty. Other characters less clearly show these contradictions, however. While Karangi initially intends to restore the ferocity and valor the pre-colonial warriors, he succumbs to the allure of violence and power for their own sake. Because he abuses his own people, he additionally represents hypocrisy and unjust domination. The ongoing negative effects of colonialism, which often discouraged active resistance, emerges in Gikonyo. Wishing in vain for peaceful continuation of his moderate success, he is caught up in the unavoidable conflict that inevitably erupts.

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Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, a native of Kenya, wrote A Grain of Wheat in 1967 as a reaction to his experiences with British occupation of Kenya and the Mau-Mau Movement.

The novel's themes revolve around Kenyan Independence and the fight against occupying British forces. The central character, Mugo, becomes convinced that the British are too powerful and that resistance will lead to many deaths in his village; after he is contacted by a famed resistance fighter, Mugo betrays him to keep the British from destroying his people entirely. Despite this, he is hailed as a hero for surviving internment in a concentration camp.

Mugo's treachery comes from his pragmatism; he sees the British as unstoppable and so views resistance as unnecessary and intentionally suicidal. His view is not shared by his friends and family; freedom to them is something that is worth fighting for, and Kenya does eventually gain its independence. However, Mugo's actions have stained his reputation and that of other collaborators; before he confesses, Mugo's silence causes suspicion and strife in the village. To their minds, collaboration with the British even to spare others is the same as giving up. The Mau-Mau Movement fought using guerrilla tactics, and their attacks and the British response often left many innocents dead. Mugo believes that cooperation will limit the deaths, but to that end he allows a hero of the people to be killed, and that action is far more potent in their minds than his logical reasoning.

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