Kenyan writer and academic Ngugi wa Thiong’o

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The River Between
Chapter One:
1) Name the two “ridges” where this story takes place. Are these urban or rural areas?
Makuyu and kameno, These places are extremely rural areas
What did the great seer Mugo wa Kibiro predicts?
He predicted that a snake that breathes fire will pass through their land one day. He also predicted the coming of the white people to the ridges.
Chapter Two:
Who is fighting and why? Who stops them?
Kinuthia and Kamau are the ones fighting. Waiyaki stops them. The reason they are fighting is because they have called their father names
Who is Chege?
Chege is Waiyaki’s father. Chege, a seer descended from the legendary Mugo
Who are Joshua and Kabonyi?
Joshua is the father to Nyambura. He is the local firebrand preacher.
Kabonyi is karamu’s father. He is a member of the tribe famously known as the savior.

Chapter Five:
6) How did the people of the ridges respond to the seer Mugo wa Kibiro’s warning about the butterflies?
They rejected him and laughed at him. He became bitter and refused to tell them more.
7) What prophesy does Chege share with Waiyaki?
The prophecy is that Waiyaki is going to be the savior of the two ridges. He told him that the savior will come from the bloodline of Kibiro, and Waiyaki was the last in the line
8) What does Chege tell Waiyaki he must do to “heed the prophecy?”
He must learn the ways of the ridges. and unite the people against the white man. He should learn the ways of the white man but should not be contaminated by them.
9) How does Waiyaki perform in school and what do the missionaries predict for him?
He was a quick learner and worked hard. Missionaries saw that the will become a brave Christian leader of the church.
Chapter Six:
10) Who are Nyambura and Muthoni?
They are Joshua’s daughters.
11) What does Muthoni reveal to Nyambura and why is this problem for their father?
Muthoni tells Nyambura that she wants to get circumcised. Their father is a Christian converts who and will never allow it. The missionary teaching profess circumcise as a pagan rite that should be avoided.
12) Why does Muthoni want this and how does Nyambura respond?

Muthoni wants to be a beautiful woman, knowing all the way of the hills and ridges. She felt that it was beautiful being initiated too womanhood and learning ways of the tribe. Nyambura had accepted his father’s teachings so she tried to dissuade Muthoni from doing this.
Chapter Seven:
13) Describe Joshua’s conversion to Christianity.
He met the missionary, embraced his faith and became a strong Christian in the ridges
14) How others feel about Joshua and his connection with white people?
Joshua is seen to have betrayed the people. Turning his back on the ways of the land and inviting the white people to the village.
Chapter Eight:
15) Who is Miriam and what does it mean that she has “learnt the value of Christian submission?”
Miriam is wife to Joshua. She has full submitted to her husband who is fierce an adherent to the Christian faith.
16) Why is Joshua upset after returning from church services?
He discovered that Muthoni had run away.
17) How does Muthoni respond to his ultimatum?
Muthoni defies her father request of going back or getting disowned.

Chapter Nine:
18) What did Chege think about his friends Kabonyi and Joshua converting to Christianity?
Chege sees them as people who have betrayed the ways of the tribe. He associates rarely with them.

19) After spending several years at the missionary school, what does Waiyaki think of as just “an old man’s dream?”
Waiyaki felt a little confused about his father’s prophecy. He felt that he was inadequate fulfilling it, learning the white man’s magic and being true it his people and ancient rites was confusing him.
20) Who is Livingstone, and what does Waiyaki think of him?
He is the missionary, head of siriana missionary center.
21) How does Muthoni perceive the dilemma she is in after leaving her father against his wishes?

Chapter Ten:
22) How does Waiyaki react to his circumcision and why are some people surprised?
He feels some degree of estrangement. He didn’t like the provocatively erotic songs and dances; this was as a result of the influence of attending school at siriana.
23) What reason does Chege give for Muthoni’s condition following her circumcision?
He saw it as fathers curse. This was as a result of discord in the family.
Chapter Eleven:
24) How does Joshua respond to the news of Muthoni’s death?
He showed lack of emotion and condemnancy when he got the news of Muthoni’s death. He was so impassive, only a slight tremor in his voice that betrayed him.
25) Why did Livingstone come to Kenya and does he feel he has been successful in his “mission?”
He came and wanted to penetrate the ridges and spread the idea of good news and win new souls for Christ. When he came he was full of vigor and had great expectations. He now feels that he hasn’t done much as expected, not much progress made. He felt that his mission had not met the response he was hoping for

Chapter Twelve:
26) What do the people of the ridges think caused Muthoni’s death?
People think it is a curse from the gods for Joshua’s association with the white man. They think it is a warning to Joshua along with all those who have deserted their ancestral ways. On the other hand, Christians think that she t was an evil spirit sent to try them
27) Muthoni’s death “inspires” Joshua to do what, and how does Kabonyi respond to his change in attitude?
Joshua feels that the devil is trying him and gets the enthusiasm to preach hard and get more people converted. Kabonyi was great friend of Joshua but after the death of Muthoni, Kabonyi was the first one to break away from the church.
28) Why doesn’t Waiyaki finish his last year at the missionary school?
His father Chege was struck by a strange stomach illness. Waiyaki was not able to go back because he couldn’t leave his father alone. He had to take care of him Livingstone imposed some strong restrictions after Muthoni’s death. Children whose parents still adhered to the ways and traditions of the land were al expelled. This is why Waiyaki had to leave.
Chapter Thirteen:
29) What profession do Waiyaki, Kamau and Kinuthia enter into?
They become teachers in the school Waiyaki started, marioshoni primary school.
30) Do Waiyaki and Kamau get along with each other? Why/Why not?
They would get along with each other. They usually visited each other. But Kamau doing like Waiyaki and his achievement. He was determined to bring him down one day with the help of his father.
31) What is a Kiama and how does Waiyaki feel about it?

Kiama is a group formed to focus on the purity and customs of the tribe and its way of life. Waiyaki was not passionate about it and feared that they might give him leadership position it the Kiama.
Chapter Fourteen:
32) What is Waiyaki’s “mission” and is he successful?
The idea of starting a self-help school was successful. Waiyaki had made his mission so that he can accommodate the children affected as a result of break away from siriana. He travelled to the ridges and got people to support him. The mission became very successful because schools started mushrooming across the ridges.
33) How are the two ridges, Makuyu and Kameno now distinguished from each other?
The rift between the two ridges widened. The ancient rivalry continued with all the confusion building up a d spreading .kameno was there for the people of the tribe, those who rebel the ways of the white man The kameno group was now being strengthened by Kabonyi and others who broke away. On the other hand, Makuyu remained to be the home of Christians
Chapter Fifteen:
34) What “contamination” worries Waiyaki?
Waiyaki was worried about being contaminated with the ways of the white man. He wondered if the education he was spreading was also a contamination
35) Describe the interaction between Waiyaki and Nyambura.
They like each other very much. fond of one another and they fell in love. They always got excited when they met.

Chapter Sixteen:
36) Why do the elders call Waiyaki “teacher” and does Kabonyi share this sentiment?
The elders called Waiyaki the teacher as a sign of respect. Kabonyi didn’t like this sentiment, so he always referred to him as a young man.
Chapter Seventeen:
37) Why does Waiyaki go to Joshua’s church and what makes him feel uneasy?
He goes to hear what Joshua is teaching his followers. He feels uneasy because he knows that if people like Kabonyi spotted him, they will use it against him
38) Who interrupts his meeting with Nyambura? Why is this important?

Chapter Eighteen:
39) What new mission does Waiyaki consider undertaking and why might this threaten his growing popularity?
Kinuthia wants to marry Nyambura. Daughter of Joshua, a Christian convert
40) What does Kabonyi resent about Waiyaki?
Kabonyi resented Kabonyi proposal of building lavatories
41) How does Kabonyi hope to shame Waiyaki?

42) What does Kabonyi say should be done about the white settlers?
They should be attacked and chased away
43) Who seems to “win” the argument in the minds of the audience?
Waiyaki won the argument. Kabonyi kept quite all through the meeting

Chapter Nineteen:
44) What changes among the people of the ridges worry Joshua and what does he do to confront them?
People have started trusting Waiyaki. They see him as a savior which threatens Joshua’s popularity. He sees Waiyaki as an enemy and one responsible for Muthoni’s death.
45) How has Nyambura attitude towards her father changed and is she ready to rebel?
She doesn’t like the way her father treats them. strictness and especially that which led Muthoni’s death. She feels helpless but she does not want to rebel like her sister did

46) How does Nyambura respond to Waiyaki’s proposal?
She rejects Waiyaki’s proposal for marriage but not his love, in deference to her father
47) What causes Kamau to consider Waiyaki his “rival to death?”
Kamau admires Nyambura very much. She likes her and Waiyaki became an enemy the moment he spotted them together. Kamau was in love with Nyambura a, who has rejected him. He felt that Waiyaki was taking away everything from him.
Chapter Twenty:
48) What rumors have surfaced about Waiyaki and how does he respond to Kinuthia warning?
This is against the Kiama oath of not marrying uncircumcised woman.
49) What event “scared everyone” and why?
The death of Muthoni and the increasing rivalry between Joshua and his followers and the members of the community
Chapter Twenty One:
50) How does Nyambura feel about having rejected Waiyaki’s proposal?
Nyambura struggles between her love for Waiyaki’s and her obedience to Joshua.
51) After challenging Nyambura about her meetings with Waiyaki what ultimatum does Joshua give her?
Joshua tells Nyambura to either stop seeing Waiyaki’s or he will disown her.
Chapter Twenty Two:
52) What does Waiyaki’s mother ask him about and what advice does she give him?
She advises him to be careful about his relationship with Joshua’s daughter

Chapter Twenty Three:
53) What accusations does Kabonyi direct at Waiyaki in the presence of the Kiama?
Waiyaki is accused of breaking the oath and betraying the Kiama by attending Joshua church and wanting to marry his daughter. They accuse him of collaborating with the missionaries
54) How does Waiyaki answer these accusations?
Waiyaki responds to the accusation by resigning from the Kiama
55) What do many of the members of the Kiama think should be done next?
Kiama charges him with betrayal of the community and marrying uncircumcised woman.
Chapter Twenty Four:
56) What news does Kinuthia bring Waiyaki and what does Waiyaki resolve to do?
Kinuthia warns Waiyaki about the kiama’s plans to attack Joshua and his followers. Waiyaki decides to warn Joshua because he wants to preserve a hope for unity and seeking to save Nyambura.
57) What had Kamau been sent to do and does he follow through with his orders? Why or why not?
Kamau had been sent to take away Nyambura from Waiyaki’s hut and bring her to river honia where the kikuyu people had been summoned to. He was sent by Kabonyi and the Kiama.
58) What happens when Nyambura intervenes?
The Kiama calls upon him to renounce her as unclean
59) How does Waiyaki resolve to confront the accusations against him?
Waiyaki refuses to renounce Nyambura. He chooses love over purity. The people allow the Kiama to take them away and make judgment
Chapter Twenty Five:
60) What does Waiyaki conclude about the white man’s religion?
Waiyaki concludes that the education for unity was not enough to save his people. He feels that the unity must lead people to political freedom.
Chapter Twenty Six:
61) With what message does Waiyaki win the crowd?
He talks about the ancient prophecy and his hope for tribal unity.
62) What evidence of Waiyaki’s betrayal does Kabonyi produce to change the crowd’s opinion?
Kabonyi abducted Nyambura from Waiyaki’s hut and will use it against Waiyaki.
63) How does Kinuthia behavior at the gathering influence our “reading” of this event?
Kinuthia does not come to Waiyaki’s defense. He doesn’t reveal to Waiyaki the plan by the Kiama ad devised to bring him down. Kinuthia at this point is portrayed to have betrayed Waiyaki’s trust as a friend.
64) Who is Waiyaki, and what happens to him?
Waiyaki is rejected by the community, they don’t trust him anymore. His fate is left on the hand of the Kiama

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