A Grain of Wheat

A Grain of Wheat Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Christ (Symbol)

Kihika claims that all who stand up for Kenya are symbols for Christ: "So I can say that you, Karanja, are Christ. I am Christ, Everybody who takes the Oath of Unity to change things in Kenya is a Christ" (93).


Mugo's hut symbolizes himself. It was built by him alone, and is closed-off and private and dark. It "was an extension of himself, his hopes and dreams" (182).

Rain (Motif)

It is often drizzly or raining in the novel. This rain is sometimes purifying, sometimes harmful and an omen of gloom and subversion of promise and hope. It is rainy the night before and the day of Uhuru, a day during which Warui claims something went wrong.

Karanja's Hood (Symbol)

Karanja's hood is a symbol of the power he once held. It cloaks him, conceals him, and allows him to hold sway over people. It represents his "hiding" behind the power of the British when he was a homeguard and Chief.

Grains of Wheat (Symbol)

Mugo and Kihika are "grains of wheat", which symbolizes their seeming insignificance with its concomitant reality of the fact that their death/planting brings about unity and healing/sustenance for the community as a whole.