“The Book of Negroes is a master piece, daring and impressive in its geographic, historical and human reach, convincing in its narrative art and detail, necessary for imagining the real beyond the traces left by history.” I completely agree with The Globe and Mail’s interpretation of this story. One could almost see the desolate conditions of the slave boats and feel the pain of every person brought into slavery. Lawrence Hill created a compelling story that depicts the hard ships, emotional turmoil and bravery when he wrote The Book of Negroes.
In the exposition of The Book of Negroes one does not realize the amount of emotional turmoil the African people are about to face. At first glance the village of Bayo seems to be a felicitous place to live. People were working, children playing; life was normal to them. Aminata, the main character in this story, describes hers and others pain intentensively, “I lived in terror that the captors would beat us, boil us and eat us, but they began with humiliation: they tore our clothes off our backs.” (pg.29) Not once did the captors show any regard for these people, “As I began my long march from home, I discovered that there were people in the world who didn’t know me, didn’t love me and didn’t care whether I lived or died.” (pg. 29) They were treated no differently that rapid animals. Children were forced to grow up faster than they should have. They were forced to do a man’s work load, and think quickly to avoid being beaten. There is a sincere feeling of pathos for every last person who lost everything and were treated so poorly. People were separated from family and sometimes friends. Aminata first had her son taken away and sold by one of her masters, “My heart and body were screaming for Mamadu. But my baby was gone. Sold, sold, sold. Appleby would not say where.” (pg.184) Years later she suffered the loss of her daughter, who was stolen by the family whom she was working for. Even when they...
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