Bitterness breeds courage and opportunities to some but breeds vipers to others.’ Support this using The River and the Source- FROM MIKY
The River and the source is one book many will easily love and apply its teachings in trying to understand our society, however, it is a complex book given that, being fiction, many find it difficult to comprehend the possibilities available in the books.
Having said that, let us embark on the journey to understand the above question.
In society, we have many types of people depending on their perception in life. Pain and suffering breeds bitterness, especially, in society where success is brushed at the wounds of your suffering. However, how we handle our suffering determines our fate. In the book, filled with deaths and humiliation, suffering is inevitable.
First and foremost, Akoko, as a girl, fights bitterly to win her father’s love. Despite the love, she watches in despair as her father turns away suitor after suitor. Her pain is evident because as a girl, she has no authority over her own choices for a suitable mate. The dictates of the society are that, the male members of the society have the entitlement to decide the fate of the girl.
Secondly, in her new home, blame of not bearing children or bearing them lies solely on the woman. Similarly, a woman is to blame if her man does not marry more wives as is the custom. When Akoko heard of the rumours her mother-in-law and brother-in-law were dispensing, she bravely gave them a piece of her mind and walked out of her matrimonial home. In this occasion, she was unafraid of going back home despite the fact that her father, Odero gogni was no more.
As the book unfolds, we notice the bitterness in Otieno Kembo. He was opposed the high bride price paid for Akoko and this puts him in mortal hatred towards Akoko. However, he does not have the power to oppose her. when he comes of age, with the fear that, incase his brother, Owuor Kembo decides to marry again, he may lack bride price, he goes on a marrying spree with little regard to the welfare of his family. He is desperate and therefore treats his wives like sluts. He is envious of Akoko, and her beauty that defies the test of time.
When Otieno Kembo inherits the Chief’s stool after the death of his nephew, Owang’ Sino, everything goes haywire. He marries two more wives and plows in Akoko’s wealth like a hungry hyena. If Akoko were a weakling, she would have fallen in despair and pain of the loss of both sons and husband. She however, rose to the occasion as the man of her household and fought for her grandson- Owuor Sino.
After her fight, she has an open mind to see the opportunities beyond Sakwa and the futility of living in both Sakwa and as a Migogo in Yimbo. She chooses a neutral position in Aluor where she bravely confronts the challenges life throws her way.
Meanwhile, Nyabera , Akoko only daughter almost succumbs to her bitterness. After the death of her brother, were it not for the spirit of her mother, Nyabera could have grown embittered by the brutality of the earth. But as we are going to see, the pain of loss after loss gave her lessons of a devoted spirit similar to that of Akoko.
After being married to Okumu Angolo, Nyabera devotes her love and loyalty to her man. Her love for children, perhaps she hoped, will be achieved when she gets her own. But, fate has its own cause, the children Nyabera hopes for end up dying at infant stage. Her husband finally dies leaving her with a girl child, Awiti. She is inherited by Ogoma Kwach who devotes himself to this hardworking rich woman but his wives, unhappy with it, reports him to the council of Jodongo. Now left alone, with no son to lean on but a girl, who is not recognized by society, Nyabera leaves her matrimonial home to Aluor a Christian society. However, her love for many children drives her away for two years but, she returns to the Christian society bitten with life to submission. She accepts the only bird in hand, Awiti. As Awiti grows up, Nyabera realizes the ultimate price a mother has to pay, making sacrifices beyond your expectations. By this, she lets Awiti join teachers college despite her fear that no man would marry an overly educated woman.
Finally, in Awiti’s family, there are twins, Veronica and Rebecca. The twins have different personalities and interests. Becky grows as an amicable beauty while Vera thrives academically. Becky becomes an air hostess while Vera an engineer. Vera has a strong spirit and loves her twin sister; however her sister has bitter feelings towards Vera. Vera wants to build a strong relationship with Becky but, it is evident that Becky has no desire to reach out to her other sister.
When Becky divorces her husband Courtney, she takes to amorous behaviour. Vera seeing how precarious the situation is decides to intervene, but just like her earlier intervention when they were teenagers, Becky lashes out at Vera. Her pain and bitterness ends up driving her to the grave when she dies of HIV/AIDS related illness.
To conclude, it is paramount to recognize our weakness in confronting the challenges in life and come up with a stronger heart that confronts our bitterness so that we can make rational decisions rather than emotional ones.



  1. I’m so thankful for the good work that I have been following for a period of time. I must say I’m personally impressed. I wish to keep updated and may be have a better relationship with my fellow scholars. if it’s possible, I’ll appreciate. literature is who we are. any website????

  2. It is so discouraging when somebody gives you a WEB of his/hers so as to assist you n your reseach then no information seems to be gathered from the same.Meanwhile i would request for the analysing of the novel THE RIVER AND THE SOURCE,interms of MAJOR THEMES and probably i ts whole ANALYSIS in general.considering that its this novel going to be set in English paper two,keen measures should be taken ensure that all students going to sit for the K.C.S.E exam this year understand the relevance of this title,THE RIVER AND THE SOURCE.

      1. I need more question from whale rider an casian chalk circle before i sit my kcse this yer wasafy

  3. What a great idea! I would like to encourage 2017 kcse candidate to check on this question and wish them all the best in their forth coming exam. God bless you.

  4. plz assist me with how women in the river and the source demonstrate the saying that what aman can do a woman can do it better

  5. Mr Okach, please inform me the relevance of the front cover and the backward cover of the nover the river and the source.

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