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Out of Africa | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • January 1914

    Karen Dinesen and Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke marry and settle on a coffee farm in Kenya.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • July 1914

    World War I begins; the Carrier Corps is formed, and Karen embarks on a memorable safari.

    Part 4, Chapter 11
  • July 1925

    Berkeley Cole dies of heart failure while Karen is in Paris. He is buried on his farm in Africa.

    Part 3, Chapter 7
  • 1926–1931

    Karen and Denys Finch-Hatton share a life together when he is not away on safari or other business.

    Part 3, Chapter 8
  • October 1929

    The Great Depression begins, and coffee prices plummet worldwide. Karen fights to save the farm.

    Part 5, Chapter 1
  • Early 1931

    Drought, failed crops, falling prices, and mounting debt force Karen to sell her farm.

    Part 5, Chapter 1
  • May 1931

    Denys Finch-Hatton dies when his plane crashes. He is buried in the hills above Karen's farm.

    Part 5, Chapter 3
  • Later, 1931

    Karen leaves her farm in Africa and returns to Denmark.

    Part 5, Chapter 5

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 The beginning words, "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills," open the door to the narrator's memories ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 One day, the narrator is out riding across the plain and comes upon a Kikuyu boy herding his people's goats. He is small... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 One year, the long rains that normally last from March to June do not come. Day after day, the people wait while everyth... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Lulu, a female bushbuck antelope, comes to the farm from the nearby Ngong Forest Reserve. The forest is an old, green-sh... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 1 One evening in December, the narrator strolls outside to check the sky for signs of rain. For her, the African night is ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 2 The narrator rides into the Masai Reserve, a vast region of grass and open undulating land. Here the Masai live in villa... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 3 With her servant, Farah, along as translator, the narrator goes to the meeting of the elders—the Kyama—as she must, to s... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 4 Wanyangerri's lower jaw is completely shattered in the shooting accident. However, a skilled doctor is able to reshape i... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 5 Chief Kinanjui lives on a manyatta, or settlement, nine miles from the farm, in the Kikuyu Reserve. He rules over more t... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 1 Native dances—called Ngomas—are momentous social events on the farm. Fifteen hundred to 2,000 guests attend, from "old b... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 2 Choleim Hussein is an Indian merchant, devout Muslim, and Farah's friend. One day, he asks the narrator to host a visit ... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 3 Farah—the narrator's Somali majordomo—lives on the farm with his Somali wife and her mother, younger sister, and cousin.... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 4 When Old Knudsen, the Dane, comes to the farm, he stays until he dies. In the meantime, he contributes what he can to th... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 5 One evening, a Swede named Emmanuelson comes to the farm. He is a former head waiter at a Nairobi hotel and has a gift f... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 6 Friends are always welcomed at the farm. These visits are happy events for the narrator. To her friend Denys Finch-Hatto... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 7 The narrator's two closest friends are Berkeley Cole and Denys Finch-Hatton. Frequent visitors, they treat the farm as t... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 8 The narrator's farm is the only home Denys Finch-Hatton has in Africa. It is steeped in happiness during his visits, and... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 1–4 The farm manager purchases several crossbred oxen that are a hybrid mix of wild buffalo and domestic Masai cattle. The... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 5–8 Once, the narrator shoots one of the many iguanas that live on the farm. She admires the radiant, iridescent colors of... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 9–12 On the farm, the oxen are given a rest every Sunday. In Africa, the oxen stoically serve as the muscle behind the adva... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 13–16 In Africa, the long rains in March are a gift to the farmer after the long, hot, dry months. The farmer "wades through... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 17–20 Kitosch is a young African boy who works for a white settler. When he rides the white man's horse against orders, the ... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 21–25 Everything people produce is a product of the age—the time and place—in which it appears. From beliefs and ideas to pr... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 26–29 About a hundred years ago, a Danish count traveling in Germany is fascinated by a small menagerie in Hamburg. Speaking... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 30–32 Pooran Singh is the artisan of all work on the farm, from carpenter and saddler to blacksmith. Working at the forge wi... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 1 Difficulties on the farm are beginning to mount up. The farm is positioned too high for growing coffee. The yield is oft... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 2 In the same year that the farm fails, Chief Kinanjui dies. While visiting the Masai, he is gored in the thigh by a cow, ... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 3 When the narrator has to pack up the house, Finch-Hatton can no longer stay there. Even so, he comes every day to dinner... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 4 The narrator is packing up and selling off her household items. She keeps her books and the fine wine glasses that have ... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 5 The time for the narrator's departure from Africa draws near, and the elders among the Kikuyu men resolve to hold a spec... Read More
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