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The Book of Negroes

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Simran Gill

on 14 August 2014

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Transcript of The Book of Negroes

The Book of Negroes
Lawrence Hill

Aminata's loss of Innocence
Aminata's loss of innocence in "The Book of Negroes" resulted in changing with circumstances in order to survive.
Aminata's loss of Safety
Aminata' loss her sene of safety many times in "The Book o Negroes" and this resulted in a change of mind-set towards allusions of safety.
The Theme of Self-Discovery
In The Book of Negroes, the main character, Aminata Diallo faces many loses and through these loses, the reader can see Aminata defining herself.
Aminata's Loss of Relationships
In "The Book of Negroes," the hardest hurdles that Aminata faces are those that include losing her loved ones.
Forced into Slavery
Aminata was forced into slavery at the age of 11, which indeed is a very young age, however, Aminata was able to mature mentally in order to understand her situation and what she had to do in order to survive.

"“Many times during that long journey, I was terrified beyond description, yet somehow my mind remained intact. Men and women the age of my parents lost their minds on that journey” (Hill, 56).

Witnessing Death
Throughout the novel, Aminata is faced with death, weather it be her parent's death, her loved ones, her friends, or strangers. In order to face situations as such, Aminata had to become a stronger version of herself. This is especially extraordinary because she became strong at the age of 11.

"Those who were cut from the heaving animal sank quick to their deaths, and we who remained attached wilted more slow as poison festered in our bellies and bowels." (Hill 78)
Victim of Rape
At the time of slavery, slave owners owned their slaves and every aspect of the slaves life, including the slaves virginity. Aminata lost her virginity to her slave owner at the age of 14. After this point, she started to fear herself and her own beauty. This fear allowed Aminata to avoid future occurrences of rape.

"“I wouldn’t wish beauty on any woman who has not her own freedom, and who chooses not the hands that claim her” (Hill 4).
Abducted from Home
The term home has a lot of meaning for individuals; it is a place of tradition, family, a sense of belonging and safety. Aminata was abducted from her home at the age of eleven and lost the feeling of home.

“They knew how to bring ships to my land. They knew how to take me from it. But they had no idea at all what my land looked like or who lived there or how we lived” (Hill, 213).
Putting her Own life in Danger
In order to gain freedom from the slavery in the United States, Aminata had to within the Underground Railroad to reach Nova Scotia. Slaves caught in the Underground Railroad were not left unpunished. Aminata risked her safety in order to be free.

"I don’t govern my life according to danger” (Hill, 427).
Living in Freetown
Closer to the end of the novel, Aminata is given a chance to go back to Africa, her home with a condition that she may only live in Freetown. Unfortunately, only the name of the civilization incorporates freedom. While living in Freetown, Aminata discovers the true danger of living in Africa.

Initial opinion: “None of us are truly free, until we go back to our land” (Hill, 257).
Later On: “I wondered how vigorously the Company would protest if slavers attacked Freetown and tried to whisk us away to Bance Island” (Hill, 402).
The Story
As I do not wish to ruin the story for potential readers, I have simply taken the blurb from the actual novel so that the reader knows what the story is about, without ruining the important aspects.
When Aminata Diallo sits down to pen the story of her life in London, England, at the dawn of the 19th century, she has a world of experience behind her. Abducted at the age of eleve from her village in West Africa and forced t for months to sea. Aminata is set to live as a slave in South Carolina. Years later, she forges her way to freedom and registers her name in the "Book of Negroes," a historic ledger allowing 3,000 Black Loyalists passage on ships sailing from Manhattan to Nova Scotia. A Canadian classic embraced around the world, the spellbinding epic transports the reader from an African village to a plantation in southern United States, from a soured refuge in Nova Scotia to the coast of Sierra Leone, a back-to-Africa odyssey of 1,200 former slaves.
Losing HerParents
In the beginning of the novel, Aminata watches the murder of her parents before being abducted. This event scrutinizes her for life.

"Each and every time, (my thoughts) were starved, flattened, and sucked out of my mind, and replaced with visions of my mother motionless in the woods and my father, lips quivering while his chest erupted" (Hill, 28).
Losing her Husband
Aminata's true love, husband, and the father of her children was separated from her and then drowned at sea. The loss of love made Aminata lose faith in love.

"Chekura. My husband. After such a long journey. Gone, on the very vessel I should have taken" (Hill 382)
Losing her Children
Aminata had two children, the first, a boy and the second a girl. Her son was taken from her right after giving birth. She as fortunate enough to raise her daughter, May, until she was 7.

"My children were like phantom limbs, lost but still attached to me, gone but still painful" (Hill 358).

Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
"The Book of Negroes" focuses on Aminata's self-discovery through her many loses, including her loss of innocence, the loss of safety, and the loss of relationships.
Hill, Lawrence. The Book of Negroes. Revised/Expanded ed. Vol. Illustrated Edition. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2009. 507-510. Print.
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