Chapter 9 of Ngugi wa Th’iongo’s novel includes numerous stylistic devices.
As the chapter begins, the author employs several rhetorical questions pertaining to the harvest. They are intended to encourage the reader to identify with the villagers by prompting them to recall aspects of harvests with which they are familiar. One such question, to which the reader clearly would answer, “I know,” is:
Who did not know what such unusual harvests portended?
Another stylistic element is voice. The text is narrated by a third-person narrator, but in Chapter 9 they speak primarily from Chege’s perspective. This combination allows the reader to gain insights into one character, but also to learn the views of other characters along with background information.
Closely related is the use of dialogue. Conversations are interspersed with the third-person narration, such as when Waiyaki’s friend points out a specific girl within a group of dancers. Dialogue is also used for a conversation he has with this girl, Muthoni, about her reasons for dancing against her father’s wishes.
The author uses figures of speech including a metaphor, a direct comparison for effect. In showing how Chege feels about the great responsibility he has invested in his son, Waiyaki, and how he worries about the decisions that young man might make, Ngugi uses the metaphor of carrying an object while walking and possibly making a misstep.
It was as if his life, his heart, was being carried by Waiyaki and he feared the boy might stumble.