Weep Not, Child

by

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Mwihaki Character Analysis

Jacobo’s daughter. Mwihaki has known Njoroge since they were both children. Because of this, she helps him navigate his way through his first few days of school, since her sister Lucia is a teacher, and the other students therefore respect her. In this way, Mwihaki and Njoroge become good friends, despite the fact that their families are wary of their connection. After several years, Mwihaki goes to a boarding school outside of town, but she still sees Njoroge when she’s home for break. While spending time together one day, Mwihaki confesses to Njoroge that she is often scared about the future, saying that the country has become so “dark.” Thankfully, though, Njoroge is able to buoy her spirits by insisting that things will improve if only they both continue to focus on their studies and maintain their hope in the future. Mwihaki takes this advice to heart so thoroughly that she manages to adopt this worldview even after Boro kills her father. Indeed, it is this sense of hope, optimism, and resilience that ultimately encourages her to refuse Njoroge’s plea that they run away together after all the violence that has passed between their families. Telling Njoroge that they have a “duty” to their country to stay and help make things better, she urges him to go on waiting for a new day, and though this disappoints him, she also admits that she is in love with him.

Mwihaki Quotes in Weep Not, Child

The Weep Not, Child quotes below are all either spoken by Mwihaki or refer to Mwihaki. 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 2 Quotes

Suddenly he realised that he did not want to meet her while he had on that piece of calico which, when blown by the wind, left the lower part of his body without covering. For a time he was irresolute and hated himself for feeling as he did about the clothes he had on. Before he had started school, in fact even while he made that covenant with his mother, he would never have thought that he would ever be ashamed of the calico, the only dress he had ever known since birth.

Related Characters: Njoroge, Mwihaki
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 18 Quotes

“Don't be angry, Mwihaki. For what can I say now? 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. Surely there will be a sunny day, a warm sweet day after all this tribulation, when we can breathe the warmth and purity of God […].”

Related Characters: Njoroge (speaker), Mwihaki
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“Mwihaki, you are the one dear thing left to me. I feel bound to you and I know that I can fully depend on you. I have no hope left but for you, for now I know that my tomorrow was an illusion.”

Related Characters: Njoroge (speaker), Mwihaki
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Mwihaki Character Timeline in Weep Not, Child

The timeline below shows where the character Mwihaki appears in Weep Not, Child. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
That Monday, Njoroge goes to school. Because he doesn’t know how to get there, Mwihaki shows him the way. “Mwihaki was a daughter of Jacobo,” Ngũgĩ explains. “Jacobo owned the... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...so he won’t encounter “bad boys” in the dark. Three weeks into the term, though, Mwihaki asks him to wait for her so they can walk home together. Talking on their... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...find Kamau, who should be coming home from his apprenticeship. On his way, he passes Mwihaki’s house and thinks about the interior of the kitchen, which he once visited on Christmas... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Njoroge makes his way along the path and sees Mwihaki approaching. Suddenly, he feels acutely aware of his calico cloth, which is barely covering “the... (full context)
Chapter 4
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
One day, Mwihaki asks Njoroge why he’s avoiding her. “You always come out late,” he lies, trying to... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
Mwihaki asks Njoroge if Stephen wanted to speak to him, but Njoroge says he doesn’t know.... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
The following year, Njoroge is bumped up to Mwihaki’s class. Before the first day of classes, he spends time with Kamau, once more encouraging... (full context)
Chapter 5
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...growing older and will someday leave him behind. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have many companions—other than Mwihaki—and so he takes refuge in books, turning most frequently to the Bible. “Njoroge came to... (full context)
Chapter 6
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
...members in tears. That night, Njoroge feels lonely and depressed, wishing he could be with Mwihaki. In an attempt to console himself, he speaks to God, asking if the “strike will... (full context)
Chapter 7
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
At the beginning of the next school year, Njoroge and Mwihaki learn that they’ve both passed their exams, meaning they can continue their education. Joyously, they... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...need money to build new huts. Furthermore, the fees for Njoroge’s school have increased, and Mwihaki has left for a girls’ boarding school far from town. On his third day in... (full context)
Chapter 11
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Mwihaki has been away at boarding school, but even when she’s home on break, Njoroge avoids... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Two days later, Njoroge encounters Mwihaki on the road. “I’m so lonely here,” she admits, and though he knows it’s a... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...pass till all these things be fulfilled…” In the aftermath of his words, Njoroge and Mwihaki feel as if “darkness” has “fallen into the building.” Afterwards, they walk and talk about... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Inside, Njoroge observes the European style of Mwihaki’s house. As he looks at pictures on the wall, Jacobo appears behind him and asks,... (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 her. Once again,... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
When Mwihaki stops crying, Njoroge eventually tells her that he believes things will get better. “Peace shall... (full context)
Chapter 12
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...alongside a group singing religious songs. As he walks, he thinks about how he misses Mwihaki, whom he saw quite frequently during the most recent holiday break. Just before they last... (full context)
Chapter 13
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
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,... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
“You are always talking about tomorrow, tomorrow,” Mwihaki says. “You are always talking about the country and the people. What is tomorrow? And... (full context)
Chapter 17
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...him go. “And he all at once wished that he had been a child and Mwihaki was near him so he could pour out all his troubles to her,” Ngũgĩ writes.... (full context)
Chapter 18
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Mwihaki accepts Njoroge’s invitation to meet—delivered through a note—and feels guilty about the fact that she... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
When Njoroge finally sees Mwihaki, he notices she seems to have “hardened” and “grown into a woman.” As for Mwihaki,... (full context)
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After listening to Njoroge, Mwihaki expresses her doubt that he knew nothing about Boro’s plans to kill Jacobo. “Mwihaki, I... (full context)
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Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
“Don’t! Don’t!” Mwihaki says, thinking she must “stop him before he [goes] very far.” “Mwihaki, dear, I love... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...road, eventually coming to the place in the woods where he declared his love to Mwihaki. Sitting on a rock, he takes a cord out of his pocket and waits for... (full context)
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...him to “look after the women.” What’s more, he feels as if he has failed Mwihaki, who asked him “to wait for a new day.” On the way home, Njoroge comes... (full context)