Weep Not, Child


Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Weep Not, Child: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Njoroge passes his exam and is admitted to a mission school. Mwihaki also passes, but doesn’t receive high enough marks to go to such a school. Instead, she is admitted to “a teacher training school a few miles” away. Before Njoroge leaves, he visits Mwihaki, who is upset about not getting into the mission school. Trying to make her feel better, Njoroge tells her that their country has “great need” of them, but she expresses doubt. “The country is so dark now,” she says. “The sun will rise tomorrow,” he assures her.
Njoroge’s faith in the value of education is still evident in the way he devotes himself to his studies with unflinching optimism. Mwihaki, on the other hand, no longer feels as confident about her situation, since she didn’t test into the missionary school and thus can’t necessarily invest herself in the vision of upward mobility.
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“You are always talking about tomorrow, tomorrow,” Mwihaki says. “You are always talking about the country and the people. What is tomorrow? And what are the People and the Country to you?” Seeing how upset she is, Njoroge says, “Don’t be angry, Mwihaki. […] You and I can only put faith in hope. Just stop for a moment, Mwihaki, and imagine. If you knew that all your days life will always be like this with blood flowing daily and men dying in the forest, while others daily cry for mercy; if you knew even for one moment that this would go on forever, then life would be meaningless unless bloodshed and death were a meaning. Surely this darkness and terror will not go on forever.” This soothes Mwihaki, who puts her head in Njoroge’s lap and listens to him speak optimistically about the future until the sun starts to set.
When Njoroge says that he and Mwihaki must put their “faith in hope,” he solidifies the notion that hope itself requires great optimism and resolve. Under this interpretation, one must actively work toward remaining hopeful, especially in the trying circumstances in which Njoroge and Mwihaki exist. And though this mindset might seem unspeakably difficult to maintain, Njoroge points out that there is no other alternative—after all, resigning to the bleak reality of Kenya’s violence would mean accepting “bloodshed” in the same apathetic and twisted way that people like Boro have adopted.
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