A Grain of Wheat Quotes
by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

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A clear drop of water was delicately suspended above him.

This quote, from Ngugi wa Thiong'o's A Grain of Wheat, appears early in chapter one of the novel. As readers begin the novel, they are made immediately aware that something is not right. The main character, Mugo, lies chained to a bed. He stares straight up as water droplets form above him. These water drops will drip continuously upon him. Many readers may be familiar with this image: water torture. This quote speaks to the horror associated with torture. Yet, the image presented does not seem particularly foreboding. The words chosen to describe the water droplet possess a positive and peaceful image. The water drop is described as both "clear" and "delicate." It is not until the droplet begins to fatten under its weight and become soiled by the roots and dirt as it hangs mercilessly above Mugo that the clear drop transforms into something different. Luckily for Mugo, this eminent torture has only been a dream.

As long as he did not know the truth, he could interpret the story in the only way that gave him hope.

This quote speaks to the fluidity of reality. While some may try to argue that one reality exists and everyone experiences the same reality, this is far from the truth. Not knowing something, at times, actually may offer a person some solace. By not knowing, one is able to decipher the events as individualistic to himself or herself. In doing this, the optimistic person is able to mold what is happening into something which has the possibility of bringing hope. If one were to know the truth of the circumstances and could find no hope, he or she could be lost and give up. This quote speaks directly to the idea of the importance of the individual. It...

(The entire section is 459 words.)