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“A
Grain of Wheat”
V.S “Cracking
India”

We have been studying the effects of Colonialization
by the British rule amongst different cultures across the globe. To begin, we
started off looking at documentaries of real life events at the same time read novels
related to the events. In order to gain a deeper understanding we underwent a close
reading analysis, told by highly admired authors. The objective is to become
aware of the tragedies and artistries that bring these two together on a bigger
level based on real events. Our future today rides heavily upon the past events
that have taken place before some of us were even born. The two novels we will
investigate are “A Grain of Wheat” By. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and ” Cracking India”
By. Sidhwa. It is important to ask questions when you are reading to reach a
higher level of thinking within the novels. Let’s explore the narrative
technique, the setting and how war and terror is represented from the aspects
of these two authors.

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Narrative Technique

In A Grain of Wheat, the creator of the
novel is speaking in third person point of view. As we know it, the creator has
the ability to see everything that goes on. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o takes the reader down many avenues
within the character, such as their mind and the life of each character. The
narrator in this novel acts as “God” who is watching and seeing everything from
above. Ngugi
employs this technique to prove to his audience that he has sufficient
knowledge about the
happenings of the people in Kenya. He also takes us through many flashbacks.

This allows us to piece together information along the way while shortening the
suspense that has been created in our minds initially. One of the characters
who goes by the name Kihika, was murdered. However, the narrator used
what is called a flashback technique to pronounce his death.  This style allows the reader to keep up with
the emotions, thoughts and reasons for circumstances that each character is
placed in. As for “Cracking India”, the story is told in the present
tense by the character Lenny herself. The reader is watching the events unfold
in real-time through the eyes of a 5-year-old girl, though there are times when
an older version of Lenny is looking back. The author decided to tell this
story in first person through the eyes of a child, who inhabits, innocent and
unbiased thoughts to remove the perspective’s that we’ve been condition to have
once we spend a few years with life. The idea is that children have a natural
reaction to things in life and at a young age aren’t equipped with prejudice’s.

We get to grow with Lenny when reading Sidhwa’s novel and encounter the child
like mind. One example is her reaction to having polio, Lenny mentions that she
likes her disease because of the attention she gets. As for an adult we would
bare much different feelings.

Setting

The setting of the story encompasses
Kenya during the time of their captivity under the British rule. The roots of
colonialization in Kenya date back during the Berlin Conference in 1885. It was
then that East Africa was first divided into territories of influence by the
European powers. The events that occurred in Kenya were real and what better
way to pass on His-Story than to put it in a book. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o,
rewrites these events in his novel to represent what took place when Kenyan’s
was under the British rule. He gives the reader a chance to understand the
feelings and hardships
of all people that suffered by using the characters in the novel. Other books
such as “Cracking India” by, Sidhwa share the same pain brought upon due to
colonizing. Both stories take place in the 1900’s. 
“Cracking India”,  opens up in the year 1942 in the city of
Lahore, Punjab province. The story takes us through the events of India before
and after the partition governed by the British Raj. Whose inhabitants are,
Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Parsee.

War and Terror

Other than the way it is formed, war
and terrorism both use weapons and cause death. In “A Grain of Wheat”, we see that battle fields aren’t the only place where war and terror
take place. They can also exist in people’s mind. Consider Mugo in baring the
secret of a silent killer. Both stories have war and terror weaved throughout
the entire story. We see it in the relationships in “A Grain of wheat” but mainly the Kenyans are against the
British. However, “Cracking
India” has it more with its own culture due
to the heavy decision set forth. Unlike “A Grain of Wheat” where the people are getting killed by
their oppressor, its much different in “Cracking India” where they are killing and fighting
each other. I feel as though “Cracking
India” shows a representation of terror more
so than war. The relationships displayed with Lenny and Ayah are more desirable
than with Mugo and the others. It is a bit harder to form relationships when
you or the man are being dragged from your home and thrown in concentration
camps. Then on the flipside in “Cracking
India” 
every culture is sticking together. This may just be because an entire
nationality is being forced from their homes, instead of a particular person or
gender. Although the events that took place are not real, they represent real
accounts that took place in history. Writing from a fictional approach
alleviates the obligation to deliver true and accurate depictions of their
experiences.

Trauma

Trauma represented in both stories are
represented on a large scale, considerably geographic. An entire nation of
people under went unspeakable experiences that they are forced to live with.

The victims in ”
A Grain of Wheat”
were spiritually destroyed and beaten and as for “Cracking India” a culture as a whole,  had their whole life rearranged right in front
of their eyes. This level of trauma does decade of damage and sometimes there
is no such thing as going back to the way things are. People’s lives are now changed forever.

Conclusion 

Both stories have and unforgettable
print once they enter your mind. I enjoyed learning something new about the
history of others. However, I did find it easier to read ” Cracking India” since it was a lot easier to keep up
with. I also have a fascination with poetry, so I liked the poetic style it
carried. The names and characters didn’t switch around much as did, the novel
by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

 

 

 

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