Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
The Return is story about Kamau, a man returning home after spending many years away in prison. Kamau has both survived the Mau Mau and being put in prison. The Mau Mau had cost many Black Nationalist’s lives, and had seen many more put away in jails. The story begins as Kamau is released from jail.
Several indicators are given about Kamau’s health, which begins with the description of his back as “slightly drooping” in paragraph two. The reader understands that time away in prison wasn’t easy for Kamau. The reader also is shown that Kamau’s features are hardened by the years spend away. He makes it to the river and meets a woman whose deaf son had been killed, but is not greeted in the manner to what he wished. At this point of the story the reader also questions what Kamau himself has questioned. Why wouldn’t his neighbors and those he knew before his arrest greet him for the brave young man he once was? He stood for what was rightfully his peoples, yet he somehow is realizing that he is being viewed as a criminal and not a hero. He is further crushed by the notion that these women thought him dead.
Kamau although brought down by the meeting with the women, continues with hope and enthusiasm. He understands that his friends, family, and most importantly his wife await him. Perhaps Muthoni, his wife, was what kept him going when he was in prison. The hope that someday he would once again see her and embrace her kept his heart from giving up. Kamau’s prison inmates had also left lives for the sake of the uprising. They had gambled everything. Placed every valued item on the table and lost it all. Kamau held on to hope, and marched on to the village.
Kamau reaches the village, and see many new faces before finding his home. The old village that Kamau once occupied is clearly gone. Before the arrest, Kamau would have surely known the majority of people from his village, but now Kamau finds that this would be just another...
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