The River Between

by

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Kinuthia Character Analysis

Kinuthia is Waiyaki’s devoted friend. When they are young, Kinuthia studies alongside Waiyaki and Kamau at the Siriana mission. After they are barred from the mission school, Kinuthia helps Waiyaki build and run his school in Kameno. Although Kinuthia wants to take action against the white people, he is extremely loyal to Waiyaki and supports him in his vision to bring education to the ridges. When Kabonyi and Kamau begin conspiring against Waiyaki, Kinuthia tries to warn Waiyaki of the danger. However, Waiyaki ultimately does not take Kinuthia’s warning seriously enough. Kinuthia fails to protect Waiyaki and Nyambura from the tribe’s zealotry or Kabonyi’s scheme, and when Waiyaki is deposed, Kinuthia thinks he should flee for his life.

Kinuthia Quotes in The River Between

The The River Between quotes below are all either spoken by Kinuthia or refer to Kinuthia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Colonialism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The River Between published in 2015.
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Take Siriana Mission for example, the men of God came peacefully. They were given a place. No see what has happened. They have invited their brothers to come and take all the land. Our country is invaded. This Government Post behind Makuyu is a plague in our midst.”

Related Characters: Kinuthia (speaker), Waiyaki, Kamau
Related Symbols: Makuyu
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kinuthia Character Timeline in The River Between

The timeline below shows where the character Kinuthia appears in The River Between. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Unity and Division Theme Icon
...a small plain, two boys fight each other. Kamau, Kabonyi’s son from Makuyu, wrestles with Kinuthia, an orphan who lives with his uncle. They fight with sticks and wrestle in the... (full context)
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Fearing that they will be lost in the forest once darkness falls, Kamau, Kinuthia, and Waiyaki gather their cattle and head for their homes. Waiyaki arrives at Chege’s hut... (full context)
Chapter 5
Colonialism Theme Icon
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
...Waiyaki away to study with the missionaries in Siriana and learn their ways. Kamau and Kinuthia join him, and together they study for several years under a missionary named Reverend Livingstone.... (full context)
Chapter 13
Colonialism Theme Icon
Months later, Waiyaki stands in the doorway of his office in the school that he, Kinuthia, and Kamau run for the children in the ridges. The thatched building leaks, the walls... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Kinuthia points out that the missionaries in Siriana came peacefully so the Gikuyu would offer them... (full context)
Chapter 16
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Unity and Division Theme Icon
...becoming a “slave to the tribe.” His responsibility to serve his people weighs on him. Kinuthia visits and tells Waiyaki that the elders are making him the clerk of the Kiama.... (full context)
Chapter 20
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Unity and Division Theme Icon
One day after school, Kinuthia tells Waiyaki that people are accusing him of becoming one of Joshua’s followers. Though Kabonyi... (full context)
Chapter 22
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Unity and Division Theme Icon
...he recruited more teachers for their children. The people love him all the more and Kinuthia becomes completely devoted to him. Although Kinuthia sympathizes with the Kiama’s thirst for action, something... (full context)
Chapter 24
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Unity and Division Theme Icon
Days later, Kinuthia warns Waiyaki that the Kiama claims he is no longer the Teacher. They charge that... (full context)
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Unity and Division Theme Icon
...and Nyambura go to the river and then return to his hut, where they meet Kinuthia. They feel emboldened together, but Waiyaki knows he will soon have to choose between his... (full context)
Chapter 25
Christianity, Tribal Customs, and Identity Theme Icon
Tradition vs. Progress Theme Icon
Unity and Division Theme Icon
Kinuthia calls a meeting for Waiyaki at the river. People from all over attend, many still... (full context)
Unity and Division Theme Icon
Miriamu and Kinuthia fear for Waiyaki and Nyambura. Although Kinuthia tried to protect her, men had come and... (full context)