Cornell and the Concept of Multiple

Perhaps Cornell’s ceaseless self-reflection is the best representation of multiplicity.  We identify a central conflict or theme within the piece to be adapted.  The surrealist movement focused on what the artist was thinking more than what the viewer should think.  Therefore, Cornell became the central concentration of his work. 

“He observed and described his dreams and his emotions, as well as cataloguing changes in his moods” (Blair 50). 

This attention to detail within himself is similar to the focus on a central theme presented by Thiong’o. 

The background image is land in Kenya which is meant to represent the lost land of the family and of the native Kenyans in general.  The images on top are representing what is important to Njoroge, his brothers, his girlfriend, and other characters.  Each image represents at least one concern of the people in the novel.  Njoroge’s father spends his life working on land that used to belong to his ancestors because he believes that is will be returned to him someday.  Kenya is in conflict due to the native resistance to colonization; an issue of ownership of land.  Njoroge is putting so much faith into school and God because he believes that will lead him to a position in which he can help his family and country.  All the other images in the blox are representations of the mixed story lines and concerns of characters.  All of which leads to the issue of land.  I have the images of the character’s concerns (a gun, a bag of money, books, love, and a cross) placed on top of pyrethrums.  This type of daisy is grown by the white landowners in Kenya and Jacobo who is the only black man allowed to grown them.  I have the same image repeated in four separate boxes because they are recurring desires within the novel.  In other words, they are repeated multiple times.

Adaptation of Multiple

In order to be adaptable, relating to multiplicity, the novel must focus on one story line even if there are many.  Usually, it is best to have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  As long as there is a clear path for the reader/ viewer to follow, the piece could be a successful adaptation.  Even with multiple events, they relate to each other. 

“The writer selects and arranges a series of these incidents so they build with increasing intensity or suspense toward an exciting or dramatic resolution.  By the end of the story, the events need to ‘add up,’ ‘make sense,’ and give the audience a feeling that it has arrived somewhere and completed the story’s journey” (Seger 78). 

In this way, “Weep Not, Child” is highly adaptable because it has a series of events that are all linked in some way or another.  If it were chosen for adaption into film, it could easily go without cutting scenes since it is both short and everything is connected in a way that cutting could cause confusion.  In the blox adaption I found it important to show the multiple desires of the characters and their relation to the earth.  Also, I included the repetition of their occurrences within the novel.

Experience of Multiple

“Whatever the starting point, the matter in hand spreads out and out, encompassing ever vaster horizons, and if it were permitted to go on further and further in every direction, it would end by embracing the entire universe” (Calvino 107).

Calvino describes multiplicity as the quality of many connections.  It’s as if there is a giant knot representing the plot.  While everything may seem completely jumbled and messy, in reality it can all be tied together; a piece of the same string.  Many writers don’t know where to end their intricacies and therefore spit out an encyclopedia of their knowledge rather than a novel.

My experience with “Weep Not, Child” in relation to multiplicity is the realization of what is important to the various characters.  Njoroge wants peace which he plans to find through education and faith, Mwihaki wants love and a relationship, Boro wants revenge, many men want power and money like Jacobo.  There we see multiple goals.  It is brought together in some way or another, however, through the land.  Everyone believes that it is rightfully theirs so their goals ultimately reflect their chosen path to claiming ownership.