Weep Not, Child

by

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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Njeri Character Analysis

Njoroge’s “elder” mother, and one of Ngotho’s two wives (the other being Nyokabi). Njeri is Kamau, Kori, and Boro’s mother, but she is also close with Njoroge, since Ngotho’s entire family is close-knit and strongly connected. During the intense turmoil between the white settlers and her fellow Kenyans, Njeri laments the fact that “all white people stick together” but that “black people are very divided.”

Njeri Quotes in Weep Not, Child

The Weep Not, Child quotes below are all either spoken by Njeri or refer to Njeri. 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 5 Quotes

Njoroge usually stood on this hill whenever he wanted to see his mother or brother coming from a distance. If he saw any of them he ran and helped them carry whatever they had. It did not matter if it was Njeri or any of her sons. The feeling of oneness was a thing that most distinguished Ngotho’s household from many other polygamous families. Njeri and Nyokabi went to the shamba or market together. Sometimes they agreed among themselves that while one did that job the other would do this one. This was attributed to Ngotho, the centre of the home. For if you have a stable centre, then the family will hold.

Related Characters: Njoroge, Ngotho, Nyokabi, Njeri
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

“The white man makes a law or a rule. Through that rule or law or whatever you may call it, he takes away the land and then imposes many laws on the people concerning that land and many other things, all without people agreeing first as in the old days of the tribe. Now a man rises and opposes that law which made right the taking away of land. Now that man is taken by the same people who made the laws against which that man was fighting. He is tried under those alien rules. Now tell me who is that man who can win even if the angels of God were his lawyers . . . I mean.”

Related Characters: Njeri (speaker), Njoroge, Boro, Jomo Kenyatta
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Was he a man any longer, he who had watched his wife and son taken away because of breaking the curfew without a word of protest? Was this cowardice? It was cowardice, cowardice of the worst sort. He stood up and rushed to the door like a madman. It was too late. He came back to his seat, a defeated man, a man who cursed himself for being a man with a lost manhood. He now knew that even that waiting had been a form of cowardice, putting off of action.

Related Characters: Ngotho, Njeri, Kori
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

But as they came near home and what had happened to him came to mind, the voice again came and spoke, accusing him:

You are a coward. You have always been a coward. Why didn’t you do it?

And loudly he said, “Why didn't I do it?”

The voice said: Because you are a coward.

“Yes,” he whispered to himself, “I am a coward.”

And he ran home and opened the door for his two mothers.

Related Characters: Njoroge (speaker), Nyokabi, Njeri
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
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Weep Not, Child PDF

Njeri Character Timeline in Weep Not, Child

The timeline below shows where the character Njeri 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
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...home that evening, Njoroge tells him the good news and asks if their “elder mother,” Njeri, has told him that he too can go to school. “No, brother,” Kamau replies. “You... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
...it had been a terrible waste of life.” When gets home, his wives Nyokabi and Njeri tease him for staying too long in Kipanga, but he ignores them by asking if... (full context)
Chapter 2
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...particular night, many family members are present. “Boro, Kori, and Kamau were all sons of Njeri, Ngotho’s eldest wife,” Ngũgĩ writes. “Njoroge’s only true brother was Mwangi who had died in... (full context)
Chapter 5
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
...them, he rushes out to help them carry whatever they might have—even if it is Njeri or one of his half-brothers. “The feeling of oneness was a thing that most distinguished... (full context)
Chapter 8
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...miles each day, meaning that he often comes home after dark. One night, he enters Njeri’s hut and senses tension. Before he asks what’s wrong, though, he sees that Boro has... (full context)
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Overcome by what has happened to her sons, Njeri says, “Why do they oppress the black people?” In response, Kori says that the white... (full context)
Chapter 9
Division and Conquest Theme Icon
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Land Ownership and Power Theme Icon
Discussing Jomo’s loss late at night, Njeri loses her temper. “The white man makes a law or a rule,” she says. “Through... (full context)
Chapter 10
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Late that night, Ngotho sits in Nyokabi’s hut. Eventually, Kori and Njeri retire to Njeri’s hut, and as they do so, police officers tell them to “halt.”... (full context)
Violence and Revenge Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Because breaking curfew isn’t a serious infraction, Njeri is released after her family pays a fine. Kori, however, is not. Instead, he’s sent... (full context)
Chapter 18
Hope, Progress, and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Pride and Honor vs. Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...asked him “to wait for a new day.” On the way home, Njoroge comes upon Njeri, who was also looking for him, and he feels “the guilt of a man who... (full context)