Weep Not, Child

Give a brief history of Gikuyu

Give a brief history of Gikuyu

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Until relatively recently, Gikuyu literary culture relied almost exclusively on oral storytelling. As Ngotho's storytelling session early in the novel demonstrates, the country's history has transformed into a type of myth; the characters see the coming of the British (and their eventual departure) as part of history's grand cycle, as immutable and inevitable as the Creation story is. Stylistically, it is interesting to note the ways that traditional qualities of Gikuyu storytelling – such as magical incidents and the trickster figure – affect how the characters interpret current events. The most prominent example of this is the story about Dedan Kimathi transforming into a white man and then into an airplane. A people used to fantastical stories would be inclined to understood their 'great' figures in this way. But perhaps the most important example is the way that Njoroge inflates his potential importance, dreaming not only of reaching success but of saving his world.