Study Guide

Out of Africa Part 1, Chapter 4

By Isak Dinesen

Part 1, Chapter 4

A Gazelle

  • One day, as she's driving into Nairobi, the narrator sees a little group of Kikuyu children shouting, offering to sell her a small bushbuck, a kind of African antelope. She ignores them.
  • In the night she sees the same kids, who look super disheartened. She ignores them again.
  • In the night, though, the narrator wakes up in terror, and worries about what will become of the poor little bushbuck fawn. She wakes up all the servants and tells them to go out and find the fawn and that, if they fail, she'll fire them all. (Demanding, much?)
  • Next morning, Farah brings the tea to her bed and Juma, a servant, brings in the fawn, which is promptly named Lulu. She is very small, the size of a cat, and becomes the queen of the house. Kamante takes care of her.
  • The narrator also kept dogs, Scotch Deerhounds, who she claims could tell which of her servants (or "houseboys") are Muslims (or "Mohammedans") and are therefore not allowed to touch dogs. (This is a controversial point even today.).
  • The dogs also understand that Lulu is the boss-lady around the house and give up the best spots by the fire when she comes into the room. She's not a very nice boss either (wonder where she gets that from?).
  • She throws fits, but everyone is crazy about her. Finally, though, Lulu disappears and the narrator believes her to be dead. Kamante tells her that she isn't dead, but married. He sees her on some mornings coming up to the edge of the house with her husband, but he's too afraid to come onto the lawn.
  • Later, Kamante wakes up the narrator to show her and she finds that it's true: Lulu lives! Further along she brings her babies with her, too. With time, though, she quit coming, and the narrator no longer lives in Africa, so it's a mystery what's become of Lulu and her clan.
  • After leaving Africa, the narrator receives multiple letters from Kamante, who pays scribes in the city to write down what he wants to say. He has a very particular way of talking, and mostly tells her how badly things are going and how he hopes she will come back and not forget about them.