Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 32 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 32 Summary

Kunta, now seventeen years old, is out on sentry duty. He sits high on a perch atop a pole where he can see any animal or human who may approach Juffure. He is a seasoned sentry now, using half of his mind to keep alert to his duties and the other half to ruminate on his own thoughts.

Tonight Kunta thinks about “teriya friendships” between widows and younger men such as himself. Kunta remembers the young widow who once gave him a basket and thinks about what it would be like to have that kind of relationship with her. Kunta wonders, considering all of the bickering he has heard between husbands and wives, why anyone would want to have a wife at all. Kunta decides it is because it is only a wife who can beget sons. Kunta thinks about the behavior of the young ladies of Juffure and the other young women he has met along his travels from other villages. Kunta thinks about the possibility that Omoro will take a second wife and wonders how his parents would deal with that kink in their relationship. Kunta decides that women confuse him too much, so his thoughts turn to travel.

Instead of being restless for marriage, Kunta is now restless to travel again. He decides to take another trip, a longer trip, this time to Mali. This is the place, far away, where the Kinte clan had begun. It would take a full moon to walk there and back. Kunta decides to take his brother, Lamin, along for company. Lamin, now having had his own manhood training, would be eager to travel as well. Kunta would show Lamin the blacksmiths that the Kinte clan menfolk always became. They have great skill with iron to fashion weapons and win many wars. Kunta is so intent on traveling to Mali that he asks the arafang for good directions. Kunta has studied the route so hard by drawing a map in the dust that he knows the way by heart.

In the early hours of the morning, Kunta ruminates further on yet another trip he would like to take. This one is to Mecca itself. Finally, dawn arrives and Kunta almost gives in out of weariness, but finally decides (because of the manliness of negating his tiredness) to go into the woods to find the log he has chosen to make a drum, a project he has been thinking of for a long time.