Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 188

One theme that you may want to discuss is tribalism. The author describes the different tribes in Kenya and the stereotypes that they have about each other. For instance, the Luo are considered good in manual jobs while the Maasai are said to be primitive. On the other hand, Indians are considered a tribe in the country and referred to as Wahindi. Tribalism in the novel influences political decisions and paves way for corruption in Kenya.

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Another theme that is manifested in the novel is unity. Vassanji highlights this theme when he explains how children, despite being from different cultures and tribes, played together and became friends. Furthermore, the unity among the children suggests that diversity does not have to be the cause of violence.

Violence is another theme that could be interesting to mention. The Mau Mau, Kenyan freedom fighters, killed white settlers together with their families. Vikram, the main character, recalls how the nights were characterized by violence. The author notes that the body parts of British settlers were used to perform Mau Mau rituals. Moreover, the fight for independence resulted in a bloodbath in Kenya.

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