Weep Not, Child

Discuss the role of women in the novel?

Discuss the role of women in the novel?

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Certain aspects of Gikuyu society, like polygamy, female circumcision and wife-beating, may be foreign and even uncomfortable for modern Western readers. But despite its uncritical portrayal of these realities, Weep Not, Child is thoughtful about the role of women in a traditional society. Mwihaki's failure to continue to high school is not a reflection on women's abilities to succeed in general, but it does highlight the difficulties that bright, motivated young women face if they try to pursue an education. The narrator suggests that Mwihaki's sense of obligation to her family, and the restrictive convent atmosphere of her school, prevented her from doing as well as she might in other circumstances. Njoroge's mothers, Nyokabi and Njeri, are other examples of strong women, although they occupy more traditional roles in society than Mwihaki or Lucia do. Njeri in particular shows a strong intellect and courage when she is arrested, and Nyokabi takes great initiative in arranging for Njoroge to attend school. Together, the mothers show that women play just as important a role in improving society as men do - provided they live under a relatively tolerant patriarch like Ngotho.

Memsahib was married to Mr. Howland. She was known as moody, and who could blame her, as she only “mattered [to her husband] only in so far as she made it possible for him to work ... more efficiently without a worry about home” (30).

On Page 10, we learn "Ngotho did not beat his wives much. On the contrary, his home was well known for being a place of peace. All the same, one had to be careful”.