Literapedia Book Notes for

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen


Characters

  • Narrator (Part 1, Ch. 1): The owner of the farm
  • Farah (Part 1, Ch. 1): The narrator’s Somalian “right hand man” and butleron the farm
  • Kamante (Part 1, Ch. 2) : A small Kikuyu boy who is the son of one of the squatters on the farm
  • Houseboys (Part 1, Ch. 3): Young native boys who act as servants around the house
  • Knudsen (Part 1, Ch. 3): An old, retired Danish sailor who appears at the farm
  • Lulu (Part 1, Ch. 4): An orphaned bushbuck who is rescued by the narrator and then holds residence on the farm for many years
  • Ismail (Part 1, Ch. 4): Somali gunbearer
  • Pooran Singh (Part 2, Ch. 1): Old Indian carpenter
  • Belknap (Part 2, Ch. 1): a skilled American mechanic with an “uneven mind”
  • Kabero (Part 2, Ch. 1): the son of the squatter Kaninu
  • Kaninu (Part 2, Ch. 1): the “old fox” squatter on the farm
  • Wamai (Part 2, Ch. 1): the son of Jogona
  • Jogona (Part 2, Ch. 1): the poor father of Wamai
  • Wanyangerri (Part 2, Ch. 1): a young son of Wainaina injured in an accident on the farm
  • Wamboi (Part 2, Ch. 2): a “dreamy eyed girl” who is involved in an accident on the farm
  • Kinanjui (Part 2, Ch. 3): the chief of the Kikuyu
  • Mague (Part 2, Ch. 3): a very wealthy squatter whose son witnessed an accident
  • Police Officer of Nairobi (Part 2, Ch. 4): a police officer fresh from England full of zeal
  • Wainaina (Part 2, Ch. 4): the father of Wanyangerri
  • Denys Finch- Hatton (Part 3, Ch. 1): A European visitor to the farm and friend of the narrator
  • Choleim Hussein (Part 3, Ch. 2): big Indian timber merchant
  • High Priest (Part 3, Ch. 2): High Priest from India
  • Titi (Part 3, Ch. 2): Kamante’s brother
  • Berkley Cole (Part 3, Ch. 3): Another of the narrator’s European friends
  • Emmanuelson (Part 3, Ch. 5): A Swede on the run who stops at the farm
  • Hugh Martin (Part 3, Ch. 6): A man from the land department who visits the farm
  • Gustav Mohr (Part 3, Ch. 6): A Norwegian who visits the farm
  • Ingrid Lindstrom (Part 3, Ch. 6): A Swedish farm owner who lived near the narrator
  • Mr. Bulpett (Part 3, Ch. 6): An English gentleman
  • Mrs. Darrell Thompson (Part 3, Ch. 6): A sick European woman who rarely visited the farm
  • Lord Delamere (Part 3, Ch. 7) A pioneer and negotiator with the Natives; Cole’s brother in law
  • Juma (Part 3, Ch. 7): One of the narrator’s servants
  • Kanuthia (Part 3, Ch. 8): Denys’ boy
  • Esa (Part 4, Ch. 4): The one time cook of the farm
  • Kitosch (Part 4, Ch. 17): young Native in the service of a white settler
  • Sheik Ali bin Salim (Part 4, Ch. 25): Hospitable old Arab gentleman
  • Count Schimmelmann (Part 4, Ch. 26): A Danish traveler to Hamburg with a penchant for African animals
  • Karomenya (Part 4, Ch. 29): A handicapped Native boy
  • Bilea Isa (Part 5, Ch. 3): Denys’ female Somali servant
  • Lord Winchilsea (Part 5, Ch. 3): Denys’ brother

Chapter Summaries

Part One: Kamante and Lulu
- Ch. 1- The Ngong Farm: the narrator describes her coffee farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills, Nairobi and the relations between different ethnic groups in her area of Kenya
- Ch. 2- A Native Child: the reader is introduced to Kamante and the Kikuyu people are explained more in depth. The narrator also explains her treatment of ill natives. Kamante is taken for a visit to the various missionary hospitals which provide better care where he is converted into a Christian
- Ch. 3- The Savage in the Immigrant’s House: There is a drought on the farm and the lands surrounding it. Kamante is further developed as a character as he spends more time with the narrator and his faith, personality and values are discussed.
- Ch. 4- A Gazelle: Lulu’s time on the farm is discussed.

Part Two: A Shooting Accident on the Farm
- Ch. 1- The Shooting Accident: The shooting accident is described as well as the nature of the Masai and the concept of a Kyama is introduced
- Ch. 2- Riding in the Reserve: The narrator describes the beautiful scenery of the hunting reserve, the difference between European and Native justice is explained and some of her reactions to the accident.
- Ch. 3- Wamai: The fate of the families of Wamai and Wanyangerri are decided by the Kyama and letter writing in native culture is discussed
- Ch. 4- Wanyangerri: Wanyangerri spends time in the hospital, the fate of Kabero is pondered and Kaninu’s reaction to the decision.
- Ch. 5- A Kikuyu Chief: The Kikuyu chief Kinanju is introduced further and the difference between the Somali and Masai peoples are debated. The shooting incident is finally settled.

Part Three: Visitors to the Farm
- Ch. 1- Big Dances: The large tribal dances, the Ngoma, that take place around the farm are described.
- Ch. 2- A Visitor from Asia: A High Priest from India visits the farm and the Somali’s and their customs are debated.
- Ch. 3- The Somali Women: The practices and appearance of the Somali women are discussed.
- Ch. 4- Old Knudsen: The role of Knudsen on the farm and his life are talked of in the chapter.
- Ch. 5- A Fugitive Rests on the Farm: Emmanuelson and his visit to the farm, as well as his travels are documented.
- Ch. 6- Visits of Friends: The narrator talks of visits to the farms by fellow Danes and other white friends to the farm.
- Ch. 7- The Noble Pioneer: Berkeley Cole and Denys Finch- Hatton are discussed futher.
- Ch. 8- Wings: The relationship between Finch- Hatton and the narrator is explored further and he takes her for a plane ride.

Part Four: From an Immigrant’s Notebook
- Ch. 1- The Wild Came to the Aid of the Wild: The spirit and fate of a crossbred ox is discussed.
- Ch. 2- The Fireflies: The narrator observes the wonders of the fireflies.
- Ch. 3- The Roads of Life: The narrator reflects on the parallels between a childhood story and her life in the present.
- Ch. 4- Esa’s Story: Esa, the farm’s cook, is discussed and his journey away and back to the farm are told.
- Ch. 5- The Iguana: The narrator observes the beautifully colored iguana’s around the farm and ponders the worth of an object once dead.
- Ch. 6- Farah and the Merchant of Venice: The Narrator relates the plot of The Merchant of Venice and Farah reacts in a typical Somali way.
- Ch. 7- The Elite of Bournemouth: A doctor comes to help on the farm but has mixed feelings about the Natives.
- Ch. 8- Of Pride: The vast amount of nature found on the farm leads the narrator to ponder the nature of pride.
- Ch. 9- The Oxen: The narrator reflects on the work of oxen and feels gratitude towards them for their work.
- Ch. 10- Of the Two Races: The narrator compares the relationship of the black and white people in Africa to the relationship of men to women.
- Ch. 11- A War Time Safari: The narrator moves location to help with wartime efforts but ends up traveling with the Masai on a great adventure.
- Ch. 12- The Swahili Numeral System: A misunderstanding between a teacher and the narrator leaves the narrator shocked when she discovers the truth.
- Ch. 13- “I Will Not Let Thee Go Except Thou Bless Me”: The narrator connects the gratitude of the farmer for the rains with her gratitude for life.
- Ch. 14- The Eclipse of the Moon: A farmer misunderstands the events of an eclipse and writes to the narrator for help.
- Ch. 15- Natives and Verse: The narrator reflects on the lack of rhyme within Swahili speech.
- Ch. 16- Of the Millennium: A committee discusses the return of Christ and his reception.
- Ch. 17- Kitosch’s Story: A native is flogged to death by a white settlers and the narrator reflects on the power of the native over the white man.
- Ch. 18- Some African Birds: The narrator observes the many beautiful birds that populate the farm.
- Ch. 19- Pania: The narrator reflects on the personality of her deerhounds.
- Ch. 20- Esa’s Death: Esa gets a new wife, who ultimately is bad for him.
- Ch. 21- Of Natives and History: The narrator reflects on the difference between worlds of the Natives and Europeans and wonders if they can be reconciled.
- Ch. 22- The Earthquake: An earthquake hits the farm and there is confusion over its meaning.
- Ch. 23- George: The narrator meets a boy, George, while traveling on a ship.
- Ch. 24- Kejiko: One of the narrator’s mules, Molly, is discussed.
- Ch. 25- The Giraffes Go to Hamburg: The narrator debates the existence of African wildlife in Europe while in Monbasa.
- Ch. 26- In the Menagerie: The European collection of African animals is debated.
- Ch. 27- Fellow Travellers: The narrator interacts with two other Europeans aboard a ship.
- Ch. 28- The Naturalist and the Monkeys: The narrator meets a Swedish professor and debates the relationship between god and man.
- Ch. 29- Karomeya: A deaf and mentally handicapped Native boy who lives on the farm is discussed.
- Ch. 30- Pooran Singh: Singh is the blacksmith for the farm and the narrator is fascinated by his work and respects him.
- Ch. 31- A Strange Happening: While on the Masai reserve, the narrator and Farah observe a pack of wild dogs.
- Ch. 32- The Parrot: The narrator hears tales from an old Danish ship owner.

Part Five: Farewell to the Farm
- Ch. 1- Hard Times: The farm falls upon hard times financially and the narrator acknowledges she must sell the farm.
- Ch. 2- Death of Kinanjui: Chief Kinanjui dies the same year the farm is sold, leaving the narrator feeling defeated.
- Ch. 3- The Grave in the Hills: As Denys is traveling, he dies in an accident and the narrator has the body sent to her farm.
- Ch. 4- Farah and I Sell Out: The narrator is saddened while preparing to leave the farm and worries over the fate of the other inhabitants.
- Ch. 5- Farewell: A Ngoma is held in honor of the narrator but is forced to cancel because of governments orders.

Student Contributors


Kimberly Thompson, Class of 2008