We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Novel Review: Book of Negroes

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

“Some say that I was once uncommonly beautiful, but 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). This quote signifies one of the many important messages that The Book of Negroes tries to convey. Lawrence Hill, the Canadian author who wrote this novel does a tremendous job to magnify an area of history that many of us have neglected over the years. He uses Aminata Diallo, as his main character who is abducted from her home in Bayo, West Africa. Aminata is taken away from her home when she is only eleven years old, and throughout the novel the readers are taken through her journey and watch her grow into an old woman who isn’t afraid to tell her story and speak her mind. She is very unique because she is both a static and dynamic character. During the course of her journey from Africa to slavery in the Western world, Aminata never stops believing that one day she will go back home. She always had the hope that her husband, Chekura, would come back for her and that she would reconnect with her daughter. Unfortunately, her religious beliefs take a blow during the hard times she faces in the US and in Nova Scotia after she loses her daughter May. She becomes a dynamic character when she says, “Daddy Moses asked if I was ready to let Jesus into my heart. I told him that I had faith when I was a young girl, that I had had to give it up, and that I wasn’t thirsting for another God in my life,” (350).

This quote shows how at some point Aminata was about to give up and she just didn’t have any more fight left in her. With all the terrible things that had had happened in her life she started to lose her faith. Aminata is a very admirable character and she really signifies the struggles that not only people of colour faced at that time, but the pain and suffering that slave women had to endure during this horrible time that stains our history. Aminata herself is a symbol of triumph for all men and women who lived through this time, but she is also a symbol of hope for the men and women who remain oppressed today. Chekura is another very important character among many others. Chekura is Aminata’s husband and he is a great example of a static character. He is a static character because throughout the novel his love for his family never dies out. Although he loses his children and his torn apart from his wife many times throughout the novel he never stops looking for Aminata till the day he drowns aboard the Joseph. Hill also uses the abolitionists such as Lieutenant John Clarkson, Alexander Falconbridge or William Wilberforce to show that despite the many terrible things that the white slavers made the Negroes endure, there were still some good white men who risked their security and safety to see a semblance of justice in their world.

These great men among many others represent the many ambassadors for human rights that existed during the slave trade and today as well. This book is very interesting because almost every type of conflict exists. The character versus character conflict is very evident from the beginning to the very end of the novel. It starts from the very moment that Aminata is abducted from her homeland to the time that she is an old woman. This conflict exists between the black slaves and their slave owners. Hill’s writing style really shows how grand this conflict was. During this time the slave owners made it very clear that they owned their slaves and everything that belonged to their slaves, including their children. Of course this didn’t sit very well with Aminata and the other slaves she lived with on the plantation. This conflict is resolved by Aminata making her way to England to give commentary on her life and to clear any misconceptions that the Britons had about that long and horrible journey over the Atlantic. It is also resolved by Aminata’s realisation that using violence as a way to make those who enslaved her for so long pay is not the answer. Rather educating the slave traders and owners about how wrong it is to take away an innocent person’s freedom, may be the solution to this act that crippled so many people’s lives. This novel is really about a woman on a long journey of self-discovery in a time of great dysfunction in the world.

Despite the fact that she was regarded as a non-person or a commodity Aminata still persevered to find the person she really was inside. She never once believed that she did not deserve as much freedom as the next person. She survived during a time were another person oppressed another willingly or as a result of sheer desperation to keep their own life. There are many important themes in this novel and Hill does a great job to try and reflect each clearly to the reader. Aminata says in Book One, “Never have I met a person doing terrible things who would meet my own eyes peacefully. To gaze into another person’s face is to do two things: to recognize their humanity, and to assert your own,” (29). The heart of the novel truly lies within this quote. Hill suggests through this quote that the true sign of humanity is not about how powerful one race is above another, or about successful trade or how many colonies one has. The true sign of humanity lies within the person no matter what race, gender or religious affiliation. Humanity is about looking at a person beyond the surface and taking their life story and embracing it as your own.

This is an amazing novel and I recommend this novel to anyone. Lawrence Hill really finds a way to take a story that goes way beyond our time and manages to connect it to similar issues that still plague our society today. His novel suggests that humanity still has a long way to go but we have come a long way and we can still do more to become a better and more liberated global society.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59