Transcendent Kingdom


Yaa Gyasi

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Transcendent Kingdom: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Excerpts from Gifty’s childhood journal take the form of letters addressed to God. She wonders where God is, exactly: is he in space? In a second excerpt, Gifty complains that her mother (in the journal code-named “the Black Mamba”) sneaks up on her. Nana (codenamed “Buzz”) can do a good impression of her, sneaking around until he finds something on the floor and asks, “What is this?” He doesn’t do the Chin Chin Man anymore. In a third excerpt, Gifty wonders what she looks like to God from space, and what God himself looks like.
Gifty’s journals reveal the nature of her early faith, which was childlike and literal. They also point to her shrinking family: she speaks of her mother (the Black Mamba) and brother (Buzz), but her father (the Chin Chin Man) is noted only by his absence. These entries also illuminate Gifty’s fear that her mother will find hidden dirt in her apparently clean apartment: she grew up feeling like both her mother and God are always watching her actions.
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