The precis below is A Meeting in the Dark summary. The short story is authored by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a prolific author. The story is set in Kenya among the Kikuyu community. It narrates the goings-on of John, a young man who gains respect because of attaining what is termed a “white man’s education.”
Reconciling Modernism and Traditionalism
John is considered a model of the “true African son” in his community. He successfully finishes every available education level and plans to leave Kenya to continue his studies. Despite this optimism, the protagonist is faced with a dilemma as his lover, Wamuhu, is pregnant. He cannot leave if he is to be a father, an issue that bothers him.
Staying would quash John’s dreams for further education. John is unsure of his father’s reaction to marrying Wamuhu as he considers her the daughter of an unbeliever. While he contemplates keeping the pregnancy a secret, news of leaving has spread in his community, and Wamuhu is certain he will leave soon. John tries to convince Wamuhu to remain silent about the pregnancy and, when that fails, desperately asks her to blame it on someone else.
…He Had Created Then Killed
As the final line in the story implies: “…he had created then killed.” John strangles Wamuhu out of desperation to further his studies, seeing the unborn child as an impediment to his success. A meeting in the dark is a tale woven around the theme of British rule in Kenya. John considers himself a modern Christian, while he sees Wamuhu as an unbeliever, non-Christian. Ngugi wa Thiong’o expertly navigates societal issues in the wake of colonialism through John’s experiences.
It provides a glimpse of the capacity for man to devolve into an animal out of fear. John fears losing control over his life’s trajectory and his tribal culture. It relays the rift between British and Kenyan expectations and traditions in this exciting tale about a man named John.
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