Study Guide

Out of Africa Part 2, Chapter 2

By Isak Dinesen

Part 2, Chapter 2

Riding in the Reserve

  • The narrator rides off into the Masai Reserve and enjoys the scenery. She wants to escape from the humans and get into the animal world for a while.
  • Explaining that African and European justice are different concepts, and that the Native sees any loss, whether intended or not, as requiring compensation, the narrator is uncomfortable passing judgment in the assemblies.
  • Once Farah's little brother had thrown a stone at another boy and knocked out two of his teeth. Since losing his good looks meant it would be hard to get a wife later on, Farah's family had to pay him fifty camels so that he could sweeten his wedding deal someday.
  • Another case involved a little Kikuyu girl, Wamboi, who had been run over by a cart on the farm and killed. The narrator had banned joyrides in the carts, but the drivers gave little coffee-picking girls rides anyway and, one day, Wamboi jumped off a moving cart and her skull was crushed by its wheel.
  • Her parents wanted the narrator to pay for their loss, since they'd no longer be getting any money from marrying her off, but she refuses. They sit and wait outside of her house overnight, until they get the idea to report the kid who was driving the cart, and go into town to talk to the cops.
  • In the end, the Assistant District Commissioner only offers to hang the cart driver, which won't do any good because what the parents are after is economic compensation, and they're out of luck.
  • The narrator suspects that the old men who run the Kyama, the assemblies, are really just fining people to make money for themselves.
  • She also thinks that the very reason that they have her choose the final verdict in the judgments is that she's an outsider and doesn't know their laws, which makes her kind of a symbol.
  • The Natives were really upset until they found out that Lord Delamere himself was a hot mess, and then they calmed down. It's like he stood in for all of them.
  • The narrator herself was the brass serpent for the Natives during the war, and she says that her own brother, who was actually fighting, was in turn her brass serpent. It's a chain of brass serpents, which is actually a piece of jewelry we wouldn't mind having.
  • On her way back to the farm, the narrator runs into Kaninu's sons, and she asks them about their brother, Kabero, the kid who had fired the tragic shot. They say he hasn't been seen since last night, they're sure he's dead, and that they're out looking for him.
  • She is sad to think of Kabero dead, and rides home.