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NOVEL: THE INTERVIEW FORM THREE

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THE INTERVIEW

                          THE INTERVIEW

AUTHOR: PATRICK M. NGUNGI

SETTING: MODERN LIFE IN NAIROBI CITY

PUBLISHER: MACMILLAN PUBLISHER LIMITED

YEAR: 2002

THE PLOT (SUMMARY)

The novel/narrative is about a form four leaver called

Joe, who is the protagonist of the story (main

character). He has got a post and he is about to be

interviewed. On the day of the interview he finds to have

waked up late. This makes him skip his breakfast. He

does each and everything in hurry to make sure that he

arrives at the interview on time.

On the way to the interview, he witnesses an accident in

which a mad woman nicknamed as “cucu” is knocked by

a Matatu. Because of his loyalty he decides to postpone

his journey to the interview and saves the woman (cucu).

He makes sure that the woman is at the hospital for

treatment. After that he goes to the interview while it is

too late. Mr. Daniel Kungu, the Manager of the Company

(Elephant Company) dismisses Joe from the interview

because of being late. After being dismissed from the

interview, Joe’s brother (David) finds a job for his

younger brother (Joe). He eventually gets a post in the

national library for his young brother (Joe). Joe seems to

be not interested with such a job i.e. being a librarian but

he accepts it because he is in need of money to fulfill his

financial requirements. For instance he wants to collect

his certificates at school but he didn’t clear his debt and

his parents died during the land clash (conflict).

Therefore Joe becomes a librarian. He works at the

Library and at the same time he pays a visit to the

hospital i.e. to get information about “cucu”. He is

wondering to see that he loves the woman very much

like his grandmother. He keeps on thinking of her every

time. When he is at the hospital, he witnesses another

accident. The accident is that, An HIV /AIDS Victim is

committing suicide by jumping off the balcony of the

eighth floor. Joe is informed that the person who

committed suicide is the pastor.

We also see the Doctor (Dr. Ochieng) tries to educate

Joe on how to avoid HIV using condoms, being faithful

and having and HIV test before getting married.

People are blinded not to know HIV /AIDS e.g. the author

narrates that Joe meets with his friend Gladwell. They

had not seen each other since the funeral of Gladwell’s

sister whom they believe that she died of TB, something

which is not true. The truth is that she died of HIV/ AIDS.

In chapter 7, things begin to rise, Joe is in the library,

reading the past newspapers, and he eventually

discovers that there is an announcement in the

newspaper. The announcement is attached with cucu’s

picture. It seems to have been written about one year

ago. It announces that “cucu” (the old woman) gone

missing her home a month ago. It is announced by

Johnson K. Njogu. He promises a reward of 100, 000/=

Kshs to the one who had information about “cucu” (his

mother) such information.

Later on they discover that Joe is their relative and as

the result they congratulate him (Joe) for his loyalty.

That is to save cucu’s life despite his poverty. Johnson

K. Njogu eventually rewards him (Joe) 240,000/=Kshs.

Instead of 100,000/= which was announced in the

newspaper.

The story ends with “cucu” has returned home. Joe

discovers that he has very rich relatives i.e. Johnson K.

Njogu (his uncle), who is the owner of elephant

companies. Daniel Kung’u, who dismissed him from the

interview is a cousin of Joe’s late father (Bernard Kung’u)

and the woman he saved (cucu) is his really

grandmother

THEMATIC ANALYSIS

The following themes (experiences) have been revealed

in the story.

Family disintegration.

This refers to the situation in which a family breaks into

small parts or pieces and be destroyed. This is much

revealed in this book. Joe’s family is disintegrated. The

woman whom he is saving is his really grandmother. He

also fails to discover that Daniel Kung’u, who is the

manager of City soap Industries, is the cousin to his late

father (Bernard Kung’u). Daniel Kung’u also fails to

discover that Joe is his relative, that’s why he dismisses

his (Joe) from the interview. The owner of soap

companies (elephant companies) is Joe’s uncle, but Joe

didn’t knew this before, that’s why he was seeking a job

to get money for clearing his school debt so as to get

certificates. Family disintegration is much proved in the

novel when we see the young Joe together with his

relatives live in extreme poverty failing to discover that

Mr Njogu, the wealthiest man in the land and the owner

of elephants group of companies is their blood uncle,

their father’s elder brother.

Loyalty vs. disloyalty.

This is the state of being true and faithfully in one’s

support. While disloyalty is the opposite of being loyal. In

the story Joe seems to be loyal, for instance, the Matatu

driver knocks the mad woman and he doesn’t help her

but Joe who was late to the interview, decides to

postpone his journey to the interviews and saved the

woman (cucu). Then after making sure that “cucu” is at

the hospital for treatment, he goes back to the interview.

At the interview he is dismissed by Daniel Kung’u

because it was too late. Loyalty is also shown by Dr.

Ochieng as he tries to make sure that he saves that

woman’s life. Apart from that he (Dr. Ochieng) tries to

counsel Joe on how to be aware of AIDS. Disloyalty is

shown by other people including the Matatu driver who

knocks the woman without saving her. Gladwell (Joe’s

friend) is not loyal as he discourages. Joe on saving

“cucu” he is mocking Joe by saying “He is behaving like

“red cross”

Favoritism/nepotism.

This refers to the act of favoring people i.e. relatives or

friends by giving them job opportunities or any

advantageous thing. This is revealed in the story. Joe’s

brother (David) finds a librarian post to his young (Joe)

because there is friendship between David and the Chief

Librarian (Julius Kimeu). Also the owner of elephant

company (Johnson K. Njogu) employs his cousin (Daniel

Kung’u) as the personnel manager. Also having

discovered that is their relative, they reward him Kshs.

240,000/-instead of Kshs 100,000/- which was

announced in a newspaper. They also promise Joe a job,

while at first (Before knowing him). The practice of

nepotism is regarded as another form of corruption and

it has become so popular in most of the societies as far

as African continent is concerned since many people

have been getting employment favor just because the

concerned boss is his/her closest friend or family

member.

UNITY

This refers to the sense of togetherness that exists in

members of the society. The author portrays this by

showing Jotham who struggles to support his sister’s

children by providing domestic needs. Dr. Ochieng’

encourages Joe to keep on with spirit of supporting the

old mad woman in hospital. David, Joe and sisters are

still united by assisting one another despite the death of

their parents. Also Johnson Njogu united the family of

Benard Kungu by making them stable. In our society,

family members, friends and other relatives normally

tend to unite one another in many issues especially in

ceremonies and other matters by helping one another.

SELFISHNESS

Selfishness refers to the act of getting concerned with

only your needs and wishes without taking into

consideration the other people who may be in need of

your assistance. In the novel, the author has shown

Gladwell who is a selfish by discouraging Joe from

visiting the old woman to the extent of mocking him that

he behaves like the Red Cross. Also, the pedestrians are

selfish because they never volunteered to help the old

woman after the accident instead they continue with

their own business. The driver of the matatu is a selfish

because he never stops after knocking down the old

mad woman. Also, most of the people are selfish

because they become attracted with the reward of Ksh.

100,000/= while they are not aware where the old

woman is.

CONFLICT

Refers to serious disagreement or clash between

different aims, interests, ideas or people. From the book

the author has portrayed different types of conflicts as

listed here below;

Social conflict as a type of conflict in which people or

groups behaves and interact. Good example is social

conflict during the ethnic cleansing in Molo. So

many people were killed and houses were burnt as a

1.

result of this conflict. For instance, Joe’s parents’

society from Uasin Gishu is having a serious social

conflict with people in Molo and immigrants. This

leads Joe and his siblings to lose their parents and

later family disintegration.

Psychological conflict: This is sometimes known as

personal conflict. It is also a type of conflict existing

only in human mind. In the book, the author presents

personal conflict by using the main character, Joe

Kimani. He is shown thinking all the time about the

old woman “Cucu” who has been knocked by a car

(matatu). To this he was always thing on himself

where did the strange old woman come from?, who

was she?, where was she going? What droves her

insane? And who were her relatives.

2.

Other conflicts include personal conflict like a conflict

between Joe and Gladwel because of Joe’s frequent visit

to hospital to look after the old mad woman. Conflict

between Joe and pedestrians who never become

concerned especially in helping the old mad woman

after been knocked by Matatu.

Luck/fortune/fate

Luck refers to success especially when it is unexpected

in the story. It is the act of developing the events outside

a person’s control which is regarded as decided by

supernatural power. On the other hand, it refers to a kind

of fortunate fate that brings good things to happen. Joe

seems to be a very lucky person for instance he is

dismissed from the interview but in the end of the story

we see that, those who dismissed him consider him as a

very loyal person because he has saved his grandmother

(their mother). They eventually offer him a job

opportunity. Wonderful enough the owner of the

company in which he was dismissed is his uncle.

HYPOCRACY

Hypocrisy refers to the act of making oneself to falsely

appear to be virtuous or good (better). In the book, the

author has shown that Gladwell is a hypocrite because

she agrees to escort Joe to the hospital by pretending to

be closer to him while not because at first she was

against the tendency of Joe’s regular visit to know how

the old woman was going on. Also, the pastor is a

hypocrite because, ideally, religious people like pastor is

not supposed to engage in sexual relations, instead we

see a pastor committing suicide because of been a

HIV/victim.

POVERTY

Refers to the state of being extremely poor such that a

person fails to take care of his/her basic needs. Poverty

can be the source of all other evils in the society such as

theft, robbery and prostitution. The author reveals this by

citing Joe who completes his O-level education but fails

to clear the school’s dues (debt) that is why he is by

hook or by crook seeking a job opportunity in order to

get money necessary to get money to collect his

certificate. Also the author proves this by showing on the

way joe replies to Mr Njogu’s question that I’m poor my

brother, who has provided fees for me since primary

school can no longer afford to pay for my college too, we

owe my former school about 40,000/=Ksh in fee areas

without which they can’t release my certificate.

Responsibility/responsiveness

This refers to the act of not showing a proper sense of

responsibility. Responsiveness is shown by Joe’s uncle

(Uncle Jonathan) the way he is responsible to take care

of his sister’s children ie Joe, David, Lucy and Marry. He

helps them morally and materially. David is also

responsive for example having discovered that his young

brother (Joe) is dismissed from the interview he tries to

find him and their job. As the result Joe gets a librarian

post through his brother’s (David) help. Therefore they

both try to help each other despite being orphans. Dr

Ochieng is also responsive as he achieves to save cucu’s

life when she was brought to the hospital.

Deceit.

This refers to an act of misleading people to make them

believe something which is not true. It is revealed in the

story. For instance Georgina, (Gladwell’s sister) died of

AIDS, but other people were made to believe that he was

died of TB (Tuberculosis). They were deceived in order to

avoid bad reputation from the people.

HIV/AIDS

The Author narrates a bit about AIDS using a person who

believed to be a pastor. The pastor discovers that he is

HIV positive. As the result he decides to commit suicide

by jumping from the eight floor. Apart from that we see

Georgina (Gladwell’s sister) dying of HIV/AIDS but

people are made to believe that she died of TB. We also

see Dr. Ochieng. Trying to give Joe an advice on how to

protect himself from being affected by HIV/AIDS that is

using condom or being loyal and or having an HIV test

before marrying

The pastor decides to commit suicide because of

fear of bad reputation from community people

Also Georgina was assigned to have died of TB. In

order to avoid bad reputation form the people.

Therefore from the story people are not transparent

on HIV/AIDS. That is, they do not want other people

to understand it. So that they can avoid it. This is

dangerous to any society.

POSITION OF WOMEN: The author has portrayed the

following position of women;

A woman as a family mother. In this novel, a woman

is portrayed as a mother of the family. This is well

portrayed in our book taking reference from

Wacheke, popularly known as Cucu. She was the

mother of six children including four daughters and

two sons.

A woman as health officer. The author shows that

Mildred Awiti as the nurse working at National

General Hospital along with Dr. Ochieng. She is an

active nurse who deals with her patients in a good

manner. Consider this quotation when she was

narrating Joe about Cucu”s condition proves how

active Nurse Mildred is “I’m afraid she hasn’t work up

since you brought her this morning. Otherwise she is

stable. Her breathing is normal! And her heartbeat is

ok. We have given her treatment for her bruises, and I

guess she‘ll be fine. (pg 31).

A woman as a brave person. A brave person is the

one having or showing courage in facing danger or

pain. This position is related to Joe’s mother, Nancy

Mwihaki who dared to help her dear husband Bernard

Kungu, Joe’s father who was dying from an arrow

wound when the marauders raided their homestead

during the ethnic cleansing in Molo. Joe’s mother’s

brave is evidenced in the following quotation.“His

brave mother- God bless her soul- had tried to help

their father, who was dying from an arrow wound,

when another arrow hit her in the back. After that life

had changed drastically for Joe and his siblings”

(pg:63)

A woman as a security officer. The author has shown

a woman as a security officer responsible for

ensuring peace and security in the society. Good

example of this in the story is an active and

responsible woman known as officer Commanding

Station, Chief Inspector Margaret Kinyua.

LESSON

The lesson we get is that being loyal is advantageous

than disadvantageous. In the novel Joe’s loyalty leads

him into achieving his goals i.e. to get money and job

opportunities.

Secondly, we shouldn’t compare HIV/AIDS with death

since one may live with AIDS until he dies unlike what

the pastor did i.e. to commit suicide just because he has

got HIV/ AIDS

Thirdly we should be transparent on HIV/AIDS, so that

people can be aware of infections. For instance in the

novel, people aren’t transparent. Georgina dies of

HIV/AIDS but people are made to believe that it was TB.

CHARACTERIZATION

1. JOSEPH KIMAN (JOE)

He is the main character of the book

He lost his parents due to land clashes and their

bodies were not found

He is a very kind boy as he saved life of an old

woman despite being late for the interview

He was dismissed by Daniel Kungu at the interview

He completed secondary education with some

balance of school fees.

He is a hard worker as well as committed boy as he

struggles to look for the job

He fallows in love to Gladwell

He is a wise person and quick to action.

He got a reward from Johnson Njogu after saving life

of his mother.

He represents people cares other’s success.

2. LEAH WACHEKE, CUCU

She is mental disturbed old lady, she is like this ever

since she heard the death of her husband (Kibe)

She is knocked by a Matatu while crossing the road

where she was rescued by Joel who took her to

hospital.

She is the mother of Benard Kungu and Johnson

Kungu the billionaire and paternal grandmother to

Joe.

She went mad crazy following the death of her

husband (Kibe) killed during ethnic clashes in Molo.

She lived in a refugee camp to Nakuru.

She is a kindness old woman because she

considered Joe’s assistance he made to her.

3. DAVID

He is the elder brother to Joe s well as his brother

and the son of Benard Kungu.

He is a kind and loving relative as he cares about Joe

to get the job.

He became disappointed o-f his young brother (Joe)

after being dismissed out from the job.

He represents people who consider other’s

achievement.

4. GLADWELL

She is Joe’s girl friend as well as the sister to the late

Georgina who died of HIV/AIDS

She is selfish as she become happy with the delay of

Joe to the interview making her secure job

She calls Joe as a red cross due to his assistance to

the old mad woman who got an accident and his

regular visit to hospital

She is a hypocrite because she at first mocking Joe’s

assistance to the old woman but later accompanied

him for the collection of the reward to Johhnson

Njongu

She represents people who do not care on others’

benefit

5. DANIEL KUNGU

He is a personnel manager of city industries where

Joe went late for the interview

He is a cousin to Bernard Kung’u who indeed is Joe’s

late father

He is cruel and strict man because he dismisses

Joe’s excuse reporting late for the interview without

knowing that he (Joe) saved his grandmother)

Refuses to hire Joe because of being late. He is also

not aware of their blood relationship

He represents group of people who hold top

leadership position but do not considering other’s

problems.

6. JOHNSON K. NJOGU

He is the billionaire and the wealthiest man in the city

who owns companies.

The son of the old lady went to abroad;

He owns elephant group of companies including the

company where Joe went and dismissed for the

interview

He is an educated person, he studied in USA.

He is the son of the old mad woman whom Joe

saved from the accident unawares of the blood

relationship they had

He is Joel’s uncle

He gives Joe a reward of K. shs. 240,000/= for

assisting in finding his mother who disappeared from

home almost a year ago.

He is a kind man because he united the family which

had separated long time ago

He is a nepotistic because he offers a job to Joe after

realizing that he is his uncle

7. OCHIENG’

He is a doctor at the National hospital where the old

mad woman was admitted.

He is a kind and loving man as he shown maximum

cooperation to save the old woman’s life.

He counseled Joe on how to keep away from

HIV/AIDS by telling its symptoms, causative and

preventive measures.

He represents people within our society who care

people to develop and excel well.

8. UNCLE JOTHAM

He is the maternal uncle to Joel, David, Lucy and

Mary (Joel’s sister).

He is a kind as well as very loving man because he

cares about his sister’s children to attend school.

He lives in a moderate kind of life that’s why he failed

to pay all school fees to Joe but ensures that his

nephews and nieces get education by providing

domestic needs.

He represents people in the families who become

hearted with others despite not being their bloody

son.

Other characters Dr. Ochieng, Mildred (nurse) and

Freddie Mwasi (medic)

-Workers at the National Hospital

-Help to hospitalize the old lady after an accident

Mercy, Inspector Kilonzo, Geofrey, (the chauffer)

TITLE

The novelist has made the use of direct title as it can be

seen to Joseph Kimani (Joe) being late to the interview

because of saving the old lady’s life, Gladwell is seen in

the office of Mr. Daniel Kung’u as well as other

interviewees are seen with their envelopes and papers

ready for an interview

SETTING

It is the real setting of Kenya, this is because the text has

made the use of words like Nairobi and Mombasa which

real exist in one the East African countries called Kenya.

PLOT

The novel is not straight forward narrated as it is very

rich in Flashback, example Joe narrates the past events

to the medic (Freddie Mwasi) about the life on their large

farm in Kondoo area of Burnt Forest in the Rift Valley and

how his family went apart due to ethnic cleansing where

later on the novel continues. It is the same case to the

old lady after getting from hospital.

DICTION

The choice of Swahili words example, “very sad, pole

sana” said by Mr. Njogu to Joe (Pg 85). There is also the

use of other non- English word like matatu to mean

public vehicle. The uses of acronyms example, “VIP” that

stand for Very Important Person “HIV” that stands for

Human Immune deficiency Virus and “AIDS” which

stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The

uses of imagery devices example simile to create mental

picture example, “The old lady is as fit as a fiddle” (Page

38) The choice of words that imitate sounds

(onomatopoeia), example “Aunteeeee! Ankoo is calling

you” When the child calls out her aunt after picking Joe’s

call.

IMAGERY

This refers to the set of mental pictures produced by the

memory or imagination or conjured up by a stimulus. In

this novel, the author has used various kinds of

imageries; some of them are auditory (sound) imagery

and olfactory (smell) imagery.

IDIOM

This is a group of words whose meaning is different

from the meanings of the individual words. The writer

has used an idiom in this book for the sake of enriching

his work of art. Idiom in this story has been used by Dr.

Ochieng when he answers Joe’s question about Cucu’s

progress at the hospital as follow;

Joe: “Yes, how is she?”

Dr. ochieng: “You will not believe it. She is as a fiddle” (pg:

38)

In the above quotation the word fit as a fiddle is an idiom

which is used when saying somebody in a very good

physical condition.

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