"Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be."

The narrator makes this statement while describing her farm at the very beginning of book's first chapter, "The Ngong Farm." This statement summarizes an important theme, that Africa is where the narrator is supposed to be living. Isak Dinesen herself often remarked that her life truly began when she moved to Africa. Similarly she felt that her life ended to some extent, when she was forced to leave. Within her text, Dinesen equates her farm with a form of paradise. The animals, natives, and herself all live in harmony. Life exists in a more pure form as God intended it to be. At the end of the book when the narrator is forced to leave the farm, the tale turns into a tragic account of paradise lost.