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A Meeting in the Dark

In: Novels

Submitted By marcy
Words 1044
Pages 5
John is caught between two cultures the traditional old tribal traditions and the western culture of the colonization and Christian traditions. Stanley and Susana in the text are looked at as the new western tradition and Wamuhu and her parents are looked as the old tribal traditions. However, John does not belong to either tradition. John worries most about what others think, especially his father. Stanley is strict, because of his own sin, he sinned too when he was young by sleeping with Susana who become pregnant with John. It is stated that “John must not tread the same road” (Thiong’o, 6) like Stanley and Susana, but history tends to repeat itself. John is then consumed by a moral dilemma that he eventually fails to face.
Stanley is to blame for John murdering Wamuhu. Stanley is the force behind John, in the text Stanley is seen as a strict person, feared by all in the village. “You must be strict with what is yours” (Thiong’o, 11) this was Stanley’s attitude and beliefs. Stanley reflects the western culture of the colonization and Christian traditions. The western culture Stanley believes were girls were educated, girls were not circumcised, and of the new Christian religion. If Stanley ever found out about Wamuhu being impregnated by John, Stanley would be very angry and also eliminate any chance of john receiving a college education. This situation could destroy Stanley’s reputation in the village. John fears his father too much to destroy his reputation. Furthermore, John does not love Wamuhu even though he considers her the most beautiful girl in the entire village. In the text John said if Wamuhu had an education and was uncircumcised he probably might have rebel; these were the two important things to his father. Stanley’s beliefs about the western culture coupled with Stanley’s strict personality and attitude conflicts John. John and Stanley’s dysfunctional relationship causes a struggle within John.
John and Wamuhu’s forbidden relationship due to the colonization is what John falls prey to; Wamuhu is uneducated, is circumcised and is of the old religion. A college education is necessary for success since colonization occurred. The western culture believes girls should be educated, girls should not be circumcised and be of the new Christian religion; because of the colonization Stanley wants these things for his son. Basically saying the new western culture did not want the old tribe girls; this is Wamuhu. It is stated in the text that John cannot marry a girl, who has not been in school. Marrying Wamuhu just because she was pregnant did not make any sense to John especially when John does not love her; John looked at it as ruining his chances of going to college. The colonization played an important role for John; he seemed to be at odds with his circumstances. The author pointed out that even though John was the son of a clergyman, John would not betray his tribe. The tribe is able to say John will never betray his tribe even though he is of the new culture; it seems as if the tribe will always be behind him no matter the circumstances, because John is seen as educated, an idol of humility and honest perfection. The colonization seem like it changed peoples ways of looking at others due to the new culture, but it did not changed the core value of who the tribe was. These values that came with the colonization clashed with John and Wamuhu’s relationship.
John’s inner conflict can be viewed as symbolic of the greater conflict facing the tribe, because he conflicted within himself of what is right and what is wrong. It is said in the text the new religion could not keep the tribe together and the “tribes code of behavior” (Thiong’o, 8) was broken and the new religion could not stop it from falling apart. The new religion stop the girls from being circumcised and the old tribe would not allow their sons to marry the circumcised girls, because of these actions there is a breakdown in the tribe; living in a village divided. As I pointed out earlier John is a son of a preacher, but never the less the tribe would not betray the person he is whether he was of the old or new culture. Wamuhu father is suspicious of the new religion the white men brought them and in his eyes the “tribe had crumbed” (Thiong’o, 8). The tribe is crumbing because of the colonization; people from the tribe are turning to the new culture and the old tribe is falling apart because of this. It is the same feeling John is having within himself. John sees that if he does marry Wamuhu he will not go to college, but he does want to go to college. John also sees if he does marry Wamuhu who is circumcised and uneducated and of the old traditions his father will resent him. All these conflicts puts John in a very confused place; he himself is crumbing inside unsure of what to do with his self just as the tribe is unsure of what the colonization might bring them next.
The new culture puts John in a position, where he was unable to decide what matter most his new culture beliefs or his father. John is caught between two worlds. This entire situation was unfair to Wamuhu, she became the victim in the end she died at the hands of John, now not only will the village know Wamuhu was pregnant, but they will also know who killed her. It was not her fault Wamuhu was part of the old tribe or was uneducated or was circumcised, she was born into the old tribal tradition. Killing Wamuhu did nothing for John; at this point John has ruined his father’s reputation as well as his own reputation. It did not matter if John was of the new or old culture John would have still killed Wamuhu. In Johns eyes it boiled down to reputation of his father and what the new western culture saw fit for John and all the other young boys in this new culture. In the end John showed no moral of humanity as the village people would call him.

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