The major themes in "A Grain of Wheat" by Ngugi are guilt and redemption. More specifically, the story's protagonist finds redemption after dealing with the guilt of his actions.
The story's protagonist, Mugo, fools everyone into believing that he is a hero after he leads a hunger strike in a British concentration camp and stops a village guard from beating a pregnant woman to death. Mugo's actions win the adoration of his people because they don't know his true nature. He allows the misunderstanding concerning his heroism to continue instead of telling everyone the truth until the resistance fighter Kihika is hanged because of Mugo's previous betrayal.