Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 33 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 33 Summary

Kunta runs happily into the forest after his night of sentry duty. He trots along the path to the bolong, or small tributary, so important to the village of Juffure. He meets all of the friendly wildlife of the Gambia here. He sees birds stirring from their nests and baboons chasing their prey and other, smaller animals scampering along. Kunta is happy to observe these beauties of nature as he trots along, and happy to be alone and in the forest. However, Omoro always told him never to be alone if he could help it.

Kunta then spies his favorite spot: an ancient mangrove tree that affords the best view of the bolong. Climbing up the tree, Kunta muses at the beauty of Allah and all of his creatures at work together. Kunta sees the animals of the bolong in their resting places on the river before the stronger sun awakens them, and he enjoys the feeling of peace this natural scene affords. After a while of such rumination, Kunta begins searching for the perfect hollow log to make his drum as his wuolo dog runs off to chase a rabbit. He inspects this one and then another, looking for the perfect one.

Kunta, still looking for his special drum-log, approaches some tall grass when he hears a twig snap. For a split second (and a split second too long), Kunta wonders if it is his dog returning so soon after having caught the rabbit of his chase. Immediately before being set upon, Kunta remembers that a wuolo dog would never, ever snap a twig.

Suddenly, Kunta sees a white man, a toubob, for the first time. Two white men and two blacks jump on Kunta. Kunta, battling as fiercely as he can with no weapons, tears flesh with his teeth, bludgeons bellies with his fists, gouges eyes with his fingers, and kicks with his feet. In the middle of the fight, Kunta hears his wuolo dog return (coming as fast as he could to save his master). Unfortunately, Kunta hears the dog give a sudden yelp of death as the toubob take the dog down in one blow. Kunta Kinte fights bravely as any Mandinka warrior would, but he is no match against four men. For a fleeting moment, Kunta is ashamed of himself for not hearing these men or smelling these men or sensing these men in some way. Suddenly, Kunta’s temple is smashed with a blunt club, and he blacks out.