The River Between
The River Between
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, The River Between.
‘Change is inevitable.’ Support the statement drawing illustrations from Ngugi wa Thiongo’s The River Between. (20mks)
- Can be general or specific.
- Must show the correct interpretation of the question i.e. the candidate should show; what changes, how it changes, and the inevitability of change.
(i) The white man’s invasion was inevitable. The people did not listen to the seers warning. Mugo warned the people of ‘people with clothes with butterflies’. Chege also warned of the establishment of the mission at Siriana. The people did not heed the warnings and the prophecy came to pass. The white man builds a government post at Makuyu, hut tax was introduced and land annexed.
(ii) Form of education changes from informal to formal. As his fathers advice Waiyaki attends Siriana Mission School. He had to gain to white man’s wisdom and use it as a weapon to drive him out. This leads to Waiyaki initiating Marioshoni Independent Schools after his expulsion. The school attracts a good number of children. This change was unavoidable if Waiyaki was to achieve his goal of setting the people free from the white man and reconciling the ridges.
(iii) Change in people’s loyalty to Waiyaki was unavoidable since they had put their trust on the ‘Messiah’ – the teacher. Thus the people get disappointment when he is alleged to be associating with the white man and Joshua. Matters are not made any better when Nyambura is brought forth as evidence. The people are dejected – Waiyaki on his part could have done nothing less for his mission to reconcile the ridges had possessed him.
(iv) Change in religion – the coming of the white man generates both the conversation from traditional religion to Christianity. Joshua and Kabonyi fall out of traditional religion. Joshua takes the fervent vigor of Livingstone in condemning traditional practices. This further widens the right between the ridges. The change is inevitable after the conversation of Joshua and Kabonyi – they bring in more converts.
(v) Kabonyi’s change of loyalty to the Whiteman’s religion is inevitable. Kabonyi is dissatisfied when Siriana Mission decides to eject students aligned to circumcision. Kabonyi decamps and joins the traditionalist and vehemently attacks Christianity. He initiates the formation of the Kiama to keep the purity of the tribe.
(Accept any other relevant point) (Expect 4 well developed points)
(Mark 3:3:3:3 = 12 marks
Conclusion – 2mks
- A summary of the essay.
- A saying / proverbs that sums up essays.
- An opinion that sums up essay.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, The River Between.
Parents behavior greatly influences their children’s behavior.
Using illustrations from the novel ‘Parents have a big influence on their children’s behaviour. Children tend to take up what their parents do, say about others. They actually imitate their parents.
NOTE: introduction can either be contextualized (specific) or generalized. Accept any other relevant introduction.
(i) Chege was naturally considered a leader among the elders who consulted him. He knew everything; herbs, cure, ceremony, ritual etc.
His son also takes a natural leadership position from early age e.g. is able to command Kamau and Kinuthia to stop fighting.
(iii) Kabonyi has great hatred, jealousy for Waiyaki just like his son Kamau.
- Did not like Waiyaki when he (Waiyaki) commanded him to stop fighting Kinuthia.
- Hated him because he had become secretary of the Kiama.
- Never liked him for being the head teacher.
- Plots downfall of Waiyaki by associating him with Nyambura / competition for Nyambura.
(iv) In his youth, Joshua rebelled and joined Christianity. His daughter Muthoni later rebelled against him and Christianity and underwent circumcision.
- Nyambura also runs away from him; rejecting his authority.
(v) Miriam, a woman of God is circumcised and yet still a strong Christian. Muthoni decides to challenge this and get circumcised.
Conclusion: It is true that children always take after their parents.
Q3. Ngugi wa Thiong’o The River Between
‘It can be argued that leaders should notice and avoid distracters in order not to be derailed in their mission to serve the people.’
Write an essay in support of this statement with reference to Waiyaki in the novel The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (20 mark)
‘It can be argued that leaders should notice and avoid distracters in order not to be derailed in their mission to serve the people.’
Write an essay in support of this statement with reference to Waiyaki in the novel The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong’o Compulsory set – text
It is true that anybody on a mission towards achieving a set goal is likely to face many challenges but should remain focused in order to achieve their goal. For instance, peer pressures, drugs, unhealthy relationship with the opposite sex are distracters that come in the way of students to derail them from the goal of excelling in academics. However, the steadfast ignore such and study hard and achieve their success.
In the novel, Waiyaki, the black messiah faces many challenges that hinder him from ridding the ridges of the white man’s rule. These include wrangles for leadership, conflicts, and his relationship with Christian girls and his obsession with education. He finally does not accomplish his mission.
To begin with:
- Waiyaki sets up schools and people respect him – referred to as ‘The Teacher’
- The people see him as their saviour – he is made secretary of the Kiama, and in accordance with the ancient prophecy.
- Kamau, his compatriot, and Kabonyi are against the idea of his being the prophesied savior and start to oppose him.
- He is accused of associating with Christians – being seen in Joshua’s church, going to Siriana and intending to marry an uncircumcised girl, and touching a dead woman’s body without getting cleansed.
- The people are divided and the gap between Kameno and Makuyu is widened by Christianity.
- Waiyaki is distracted or slowed down in his mission to save the people and the white man goes on entrenching himself into Kikuyu land and advancing his control through taxation and land alienation.
Obsession with education:
After being expelled from Siriana, Waiyaki opens Marioshoni Primary School to offer education to non-Christian children.
- He only dreams about education and opening schools everywhere.
- He believes education, the white man’s magic, will save the ridges and forgets ‘action now’ as Kabonyi’s opposition group advocates.
- When he goes to Siriana to look for teachers, Kabonyi’s group accuses him of working with Rev. Livingstone – selling the people
- He concentrates on education at the expense of Kikuyu land, taxation on the people as white rule grows stronger. He loses focus of his goal.
Mixed up approach;
- Waiyaki is educated and knows much about Christianity
- He is a traditionalist who is circumcised, member of the Kiama and has taken the oath to maintain the purity of the land.
- He believes in unity between Kameno and Makuyu, Christians and traditionalists
- He believes that the white man’s religion is not entirely bad only fanatics like Joshua make it appear so by mixing it up with the white man’s way of life.
- He wants to mix the two and so unite the people – goes to Joshua’s church – he is accused of breaking the oath betraying the Kiama
- He believes in the potency of the white man’s medicine since he suggests Muthoni be taken to Siriana hospital which he does among other youths do.
- This becomes his undoing as he was a member of the Kiama – he appears before the Kiama to defend himself on his intended marriage with Nyambura an uncircumcised Christian girl.
- He is rejected by Christians (chased out of Joshua’s church) and is rejected and unfairly judged by traditionalist.
- His fame as a saviour dwindles and his influence on the people is no longer as powerful as before since he is mixed up and his intentions questionable.
Love for Nyambura;
- Waiyaki and Kamau are members of the Kiama under oath to protect the purity of the Kikuyu customs – neither is expected to associate with Christians;
- The two compete for Nyambura’s love but she prefers Waiyaki to Kamau (The latter sees them hugging at Honia River)
- Waiyaki goes to look for Nyambura at church; he invites her to Marioshoni school and wanders out at night hoping to meet her.
- Nyambura is warned by her father against being seen with ‘that devil’ (Waiyaki)
- On hearing Kamau’s intended kidnap of Nyambura, he goes to the church to warn Joshua but he is sent away - the Kiama youth notice him as he leaves the church at night.
- Nyambura is disowned by her father and goes off with Waiyaki to his hut.
- He is thus accused of marrying her against the custom and is to be judged by the Kiama – this is Waiyaki’s final and greatest failure in his quest to save / lead the people.
- Waiyaki believes that without unity they cannot fight the white man – unity between the Christians and traditionalists, Kameno and Makuyu.
- Waiyaki’s problem is that he keeps postponing his good intentions of preaching unity to the people.
- He keeps saying ‘next time’ which never seems forthcoming.
- At the parent’s school meeting, he fails to preach unity ‘And with a fleeting feeling of guilt he remembered that he had forgotten to preach reconciliation.’(P95)
- It is during the final day of reckoning when he is being judged for betraying the community when he talks about unity but it is much too late
- The people desert him subject to the kiama’s decision.
In whatever we do and intend to accomplish, we must remain focused and try as much as possible to overcome obstacles. Only steadfastness would see us accomplish our goals, without turning to the left or to the right but forging forward
Q4. The Novel. “THE RIVER BETWEEN” – by Ngugi Thiong’o
“Joshua falls too far below our expectations of a true Christian” With illustrations from the novel write an essay tojustify the above statement.
The society in general expects that those who are Christians live exemplary lives by following the teachings of the bible. Any behavior to the contrary is frowned upon. In the novel ‘The River Between ’Joshua being a Christian convert fails in various ways in leading by example
a. Joshua is hypocritical
- Condemns his wife for having undergone circumcision, forgetting that both of them had been steeped deep in traditions before the advent of Christianity, keeps asking God to forgive him for marrying her.
- This is a selfish righteous altitude and unchristian
b. He is authoritarian
- Nyambura dreaded the moment her father would ask for Muthoni.
- Forces his wife to go out in the night in search of Muthoni after blaming her for Muthoni’s disobedience
-He forgets that she is equally his daughter and should shoulder responsibility as well
c. He is unforgiving
- Fails to forgive Muthoni and for travelling to Kameno and for getting circumcised
- After her death shows no emotion
- Eventually disowns her
- Disowns Nyambura too
d. Hot tempered
- When he calls for Muthoni after she had disappeared Nyambura had to run away from her father’s
- He was on her glaring at her shaking her all the time
e. Inability to love his enemies in accordance with Christian teachings
- Warns Nyambura against seeing the “young devil” Waiyaki
- Curses Waiyaki when he come to warn him of impending attack by the Kiama
- When Nyambura defends Waiyaki he condemns her
In conclusion Joshua does not satisfy the bone expectations of a Christian home should be
Mark any 4 well illustrated points
Content 3:3:3:3= 12
Q5. Compulsory set text: The River Between by NgugiwaThiong’o (20mks)
“Rivalry and hatred seem to be the driving force of the novel”, write a composition to support the truth of this statement. Illustrate your answer from the novel ‘The RiverBetween
Indeed Kameno and Makuyu are ridges steeped in rivalry, Kameno is regarded the home of traditionalist who want to keep the tribes customs pure, while Makuyu is the home of Christians represented by Joshua, Christians do not see eye to eye with traditionalists especially on the issue of circumcision. Similarly Waiyaki is said to have betrayed the tribe by attending Joshua’s church service and intending to marry a Christian girl who is uncircumcised. At the height of this rivalry a newly converted Christian’s hut is burnt down at Kameno.
(i) There is serious rivalry as to where leadership was left by the first man and woman – Gikuyu and Mumbi. Each ridge wants to lay sole claim to this leadership. This is symbolized by the fight between Kamau and Kinuthia. The fight sparks from the insults they hurl to each other. Kamau laughs at Kinuthia because his father died poor while Kinuthia calls Kamau’s father a convert to the Whiteman’s religion.
(ii) On another front, Waiyaki and Kamau are bitter rivals. Kamau has always hated Waiyaki since their childhood because he always up staged him. He even ordered him to stop fighting Kinuthia when they were children. Kamau had always felt humiliated since he was much older than Waiyaki. Kamau also feels he has lost Nyambura to Waiyaki. He claims to have loved her so much to the extent of hovering around her home even odd hours to find opportunity to declare his love. The only opportunity he gets at Honia river is snatched by his rival Waiyaki who comes unexpectedly. The fact that Nyambura and Waiyaki embrace cuts him deep like a sharp knife and he declares to himself that Waiyaki will remain a rival to death p. 104. similarly, Waiyaki beats him(Kamau) when he was appointed secretary in absentia in the Kiama – a respectable status. To make matters worse, Kamau’s father rebukes him for remaining resentful pg 94.
(iii) Waiyaki and Kabonyi are vying for the leadership of the ridges Waiyaki is leading people in the acquisition of the Whiteman’s education in order to prepare them to use their wits/ wisdom to fight back. But Kabonyi is more direct and forceful and feels he can use the newly formed Kiama to rise against the Whiteman. He tells the people (at a meeting in school) not to allow themselves to be led by the youth and poses the question. ‘Did the tail ever lead the head; the child the father or the cubs the lion?’ p93. Even when an inter – ridge committee is formed to oversee the building of new schools; Kabonyi is left out due to rivalry. Feeling humiliated the old man is led home by his son. Kamau loudly pronounces that he will kill Waiyaki. Kabonyi even opposes the construction of lavatories at Marioshoni school saying the bushes were just sufficient in a scheme of hitting back at Waiyaki. The last show down is do or die affair Kabonyi effectively utilizes the oath to completely rout his opponent (Waiyaki). Waiyaki refuses to publicly disown Nyambura, a woman he loves so much despite she being a Christian and uncircumcised. As a result the people he has led all through disown him and surrender him to the Kiama. Perhaps Kabonyi’s intense hatred for Waiyaki could be quenched this way and being the founder of the Kiama he will firmly deal with the teacher.
Albeit the rivalry in existence just as Waiyaki perceives things the only solution is to accommodate both tradition and modernity with equal measure. Without this integration/ blend it is difficult for the society to prosper. This explains the death of Muthoni and the denial of Waiyaki – a visionary leader
Expect all the three points x4 = 12mks
NgugiwaThiong’o: The River Between.
“No culture is superior to another”.
Discuss the validity of the statement with reference to NgugiwaThiong’o’s the River Between. The River between-NgugiwaThiong’o
Culture is the sum total of a people life, it ranges from how people worship, govern themselves, traditions among others aspects. In the novel, there are similarities between the Africans culture and that of Europeans and therefore none is superior to another as shown below.
i. Education-Both cultures have a system of educating their young ones. The Africans offer informal education like the one given to Waiyaki by his father on their way to the sacred hill. Taught medicinal herbs and poisonous ones, history of his tribe et.c.Initiates are also taught the ways the ways of the tribe after circumcision. The Europeans offer education in classes in language, writing, Arithmetic etc
ii. Religion-Both cultures have a way of worshipping their maker. Africans worship Murungu and offer sacrifices to him while the Europeans have Christianity as their mode of worship in churches. The religion professes one God who had a son(Jesus) through whom all will be saved.
iii. Government-The Africans have a kiama which rules the people and arbitrates disputes while the Europeans introduce a government post from where all people are governed.
iv. Medicine-Africans use herbs for treatment. E.g.Njeri uses them to treat Muthoni’s wound. Waiyaki is taught the medicinal herbs are poisonous ones by his father.Chenge also uses them during his illness. The Europeans uses modern medicine in Soriane Mission hospital.
v. Rites of passage-Africans have a second birth for their youth which precedes circumcision. The Europeans baptize their members to signify passage from paganism to salvation/Christianity.
In conclusion, the two cultures portray similar aspects of life and none should boast of superiority.
The river Between - NgugiwaThiongo (20 marks)
“Resistance to new ideologies often breeds disharmony.” Discuss the validity of this statement using illustrations from the novel, The River Between by NgugiwaThiongo.
“Resistance to new ideologies often breeds disharmony.” Discuss the validity of this statement using illustrations from the story The River Between by NgugiwaThiongo.
Life in itself is not a static phenomenon. Change occurs literally in all its aspects. However, as obvious as it sounds, not everyone readily does embrace it thus causing disagreements. In the text, The River Between, this is evident when Christianity, formal education and new administrative structures are introduced.
First, the introduction of Christianity to the ridges was a new idea. Some like Joshua and Kabonyi converted while others like Chege stuck to their traditional ways. The feeling by the people that no one would come from outside and make their way into the hills and Chege’s feeling that the converts were traitors was a sign of resistance. Joshua had even to flee to Siriana as the opposition built up. Further, develop hostilities brewed between Makuyu – the seat of Christians and Kameno – the stronghold of the traditionalists. The burning of a hut of the latest convert and the pending attack on Joshua’s house proves more the heightened animosity caused by the new religion.
Secondly, the missionaries also introduced formal education. Waiyaki, Kinuthia and Kamau are among the first beneficiaries. This took place at Siriana mission school. After the traditionalists’ children are sent away from Siriana, Waiyaki sets Marioshoni School. He calls upon the people to embrace education and induced the people had great thirst for the white man’s magic. Kabonyi, however, feels that the reawakening through formal education is too slow. He prefers an immediate solution. Something that would bring back their land and relieve the people from the burden of new buildings and teachers. He forms the Kiama in order to drive away the influence of the white man and instead restore the purity and the wisdom of the tribe. The difference in their ideology on education makes Waiyaki and Kabonyi constantly disagree.
Further, a new system of administration through the government post has been established. The people are now required to pay taxes. Joshua finds it is reasonable as he believes this was right. He understood what a government was. He calls upon the people to oblige by asking them to give unto Caesar what was Caesars” “On the contrary, the people of the hills blamed Joshua for all these. They became restless and felt it was interference. Kabonyi formed the Kiama to fight the white man’s ills among which were the hut tax being imposed on them. Kinuthia was convinced that above education, there was also need for political independence, a break from the colonial administration, if new opportunities had to be created. Waiyaki too later realises that her was need for political freedom. This in essence shows that the people we dissatisfied with the colonial administration.
There is also resistance towards the medical advancements. Waiyaki believes that Muthoni would get cared at the mission hospital and thus decides to take her there. However, when she dies, the conservatives believe that it is the white mans medicine that had killed her. That Chege would never hear of eating the white man’s medicine after this incident. He had sent Waiyaki to get a shrub that had been recommended by his father.
In conclusion, it is evident that people will wish to keep to what they know and understand well regardless of the demerits.
In conclusion, it is important that people remain open to new ideas since they often times can come with benefits.
The compulsory Set Text
NgugiwaThiongo,The River Between (20marks)
Waiyaki is a true reflection of the assertion that, Failure however small, becomes the evidence sought after by those who fundamentally believe in the inferiority of others;” write an essay in support of this assertion using illustration from the River Between.
Failure refers to the state of insufficiency or falling short of desired expectation. In The River Between, Waiyaki’s shortcomings become indictments used by his foes to vilify his character.
(Accept any other relevant introduction)
Expect any 4 well developed points, mark 3:3:3:3 = 12mks
- A recap of the discussed points
NgugiwaThiong’o, The River Between.
The River Between is about a society that has boundaries within which its members must operate or else they are doomed. With reference to NgugiwaThiong’o’s The River Between, write a composition highlighting the truth in this statement.
Every society has certain expectations that must be met by its members. To facilitate this, the society imposes certain sanctions that dictate the limits within which individuals must operate. Such is the case in the society in NgugiwaThiong’o’s. The River Between where the individuals must operate within certain limits dictated by society or else they face unpalatable consequences.
They worship Mwungu, Mwenenyaga, Ngai. They appease their god through sacrifice etc. The coming of the whitemen results in the introduction of Christianity. Converts like Joshua embrace this new religion. He becomes alienated. The traditionalists view him suspiciously. It is said that Muthoni’s death was a repercussion of Joshua’s beliefs of the new religion / defiance of his people’s beliefs.
As a leader society expects him to remain pure. However, Waiyaki betrays societal expectation through liaison with Nyambura. He ends up losing credibility as a leader, is branded a traitor and thus fails to live up to the expectation of both his father and the community 146, 147, 148.
Expect any 4 well explained points.
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