Weep Not, Child

by

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Jacobo Character Analysis

The richest man in the village, and the owner of the land upon which Njoroge and his family live on. Jacobo is one of the only black farmers allowed by the white settlers to grow pyrethrum (a profitable crop that can be used to make insecticide and medicine). Because of this, he eventually sides with the colonialists when his fellow Kenyans try to resist them by organizing strikes and fighting back using guerilla warfare. In fact, Jacobo’s allegiance with the white settlers is what inspires Ngotho to action; when Jacobo tries to urge other villagers to refrain from striking, Ngotho attacks him because he believes he’s a traitor. In turn, Jacobo and Ngotho’s families are pitted against one another, though this doesn’t stop Njoroge from spending time with Mwihaki, Jacobo’s daughter. Nonetheless, the feud between Jacobo and Ngotho is intense and long, as Jacobo becomes chief of the village and joins forces with the white Mr. Howlands, ultimately using his power to take revenge on Ngotho’s family. Unsurprisingly, then, Njoroge’s friendship with Mwihaki becomes untenable after his older brother Boro kills Jacobo.

Jacobo Quotes in Weep Not, Child

The Weep Not, Child quotes below are all either spoken by Jacobo or refer to Jacobo. 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:
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Weep Not, Child published in 1964.
Chapter 7 Quotes

Jacobo, the richest man in all the land around, had been brought to pacify the people. Everyone listened to him in silence. But something unusual happened to Ngotho. For one single moment Jacobo crystallised into a concrete betrayal of the people. He became the physical personification of the long years of waiting and suffering—Jacobo was a traitor. Ngotho rose. He made his way towards the platform while everyone watched, wondering what was happening. He was now near Jacobo. The battle was now between these two—Jacobo on the side of the white people, and he on the side of the black people.

Related Characters: Ngotho, Jacobo
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 8 Quotes

Ngotho did not speak much. He sat in his own corner and Njoroge could not tell if he was listening to what was going on. Ngotho was changing. Soon after the strike Boro quarrelled much with the old man. He accused him of having spoilt everything by his rash action in spite of Kiarie’s warning. Boro clearly had contempt for Ngotho. But he had never expressed it in words except on those two occasions. Since then, he had become more critical of Ngotho. Ngotho, as a result, had diminished in stature, often assuming a defensive secondary place whenever talking with his sons and their friends. For months he had remained in this position, often submitting unflinchingly to his son. And then Boro thought that he could make the old man submit to his will. But Ngotho made a determined resistance. He would not take the Mau Mau oath at his son’s hands or instruction. There had been a bitter quarrel and Boro had stayed for a long time without coming home.

Related Characters: Njoroge, Ngotho, Jacobo, Boro, Kiarie
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 9 Quotes

But what could he have done? He had to go on strike. He had not wanted to be accused by a son anymore, because when a man was accused by the eyes of his son who had been to war and had witnessed the death of a brother, he felt guilty. But Ngotho had always wanted to be gentle with Boro because he knew that the son must have been sorely tried in the war. The something that had urged him to fight against Jacobo certainly had no logic. But it alienated Boro further still.

Related Characters: Ngotho, Jacobo, Boro
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Weep Not, Child LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Jacobo Character Timeline in Weep Not, Child

The timeline below shows where the character Jacobo appears in Weep Not, Child. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...accepts that Kamau will not be coming with him to school. He then postulates that Jacobo—the most successful black man in town—is as rich as the white Mr. Howlands because he... (full context)
Chapter 2
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...know how to get there, Mwihaki shows him the way. “Mwihaki was a daughter of Jacobo,” Ngũgĩ explains. “Jacobo owned the land on which Ngotho lived.” Like Njoroge, Mwihaki is a... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...thinks about the interior of the kitchen, which he once visited on Christmas Day because Juliana—Jacobo’s wife—invited him and a handful of other children who work on the land for a... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...he had ever known since birth.” Nonetheless, he decides to avoid Mwihaki by turning into Jacobo’s pyrethrum field. From this vantage point, he can see Mr. Howlands’s land, which lies just... (full context)
Chapter 4
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...story Ngotho told his family about how white people stole their land. Because Mwihaki is Jacobo’s daughter—and because Jacobo is close to the white settlers—he decides he shouldn’t say anything about... (full context)
Chapter 5
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
Ngũgĩ explains that Jacobo is one of the only Africans allowed by white settlers to grow pyrethrum. “It was... (full context)
Chapter 7
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...If today, you’re hit, don’t hit back…” At this point, a white police officer accompanies Jacobo to the front of the crowd. “It was only when Jacobo had begun to speak... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Listening to Jacobo, Ngotho grows angry. Jacobo, he determines, is a “traitor,” a man who has betrayed his... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
In the aftermath of this incident, Njoroge and his family members wonder how Jacobo got involved with the white settlers in the first place. “Few knew that to the... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...There must always be a traitor in our midst.” Turning their attention more specifically to Jacobo and Ngotho, the patrons of the barbershop lament what has happened, saying, “It’s sad what... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Having been kicked off Jacobo’s land, Ngotho and his family are “given a place to build by Nganga,” who takes... (full context)
Chapter 8
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...father and Kamau speak highly of the man. In the years since the incident between Jacobo and Ngotho, Jacobo has been made a chief by the white settlers, who have given... (full context)
Chapter 9
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...explains that the entire hearing was rigged, and Ngotho becomes afraid of the fact that Jacobo—who hates his family—is the “most powerful man in the land.” Sooner or later, he thinks,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Jacobo knocks on Mr. Howlands’s door and tells him he needs to speak with him. Mr.... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...however, is not. Instead, he’s sent to a detention camp “without trial.” Despite this outcome, Jacobo is disappointed, since the person he truly wants to capture is Boro. Nevertheless, he doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 11
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...observes the European style of Mwihaki’s house. As he looks at pictures on the wall, Jacobo appears behind him and asks, “How’s school?” “’Tis all right,” Njoroge replies, beginning a stilted... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
After Njoroge speaks with Jacobo, he and Mwihaki go outside, where Mwihaki lies on the grass while Njoroge sits beside... (full context)
Chapter 12
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
...his career before his triumphal return to farming life.” As such, he waylays all of Jacobo’s attempts to arrest Ngotho. When Jacobo arrives in his office one day, then, he assumes... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Angry that Jacobo didn’t bring this to his attention earlier (there have been two more notes since this... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...white man too fights and kills with gas, bombs, and everything.” He then states that Jacobo “must die,” along with Mr. Howlands. (full context)
Chapter 15
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
...Howlands is also there, watching him. Advancing upon Njoroge, the white man says, “Who murdered Jacobo?” When Njoroge is unable to answer, Mr. Howlands grabs Njoroge’s testicles and puts a pair... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...hardly move positions. “In spite of his pain, however, he never regretted the death of Jacobo,” Ngũgĩ writes. “In fact, immediately after Jacobo’s death, Ngotho felt grateful.” However, he soon heard... (full context)
Chapter 16
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...“We owe you everything.” His father then tells him not to ask if he killed Jacobo, and after rambling for a moment, he says, “I am glad you are acquiring learning.... (full context)
Chapter 17
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
“I killed Jacobo,” Boro told Mr. Howlands as he pointed the gun. “He betrayed black people. Together, you... (full context)
Chapter 18
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...to Njoroge, Mwihaki expresses her doubt that he knew nothing about Boro’s plans to kill Jacobo. “Mwihaki, I don’t want to pretend that I would have warned you if I had... (full context)