The novel I chose to read for my culminating task is The book of Negroes written by Lawrence Hill. This novel is about the story of a young African girl who was abducted and forced to go into slavery in the United States of America. Despite all the odds against her, She figures out a way to escape and go off to New York. This book puts the reader back in time and shows how it was like for black people.
Before I start to look at this book from a reader response perspective I would like to talk about the main character, Aminata. Aminata is a girl that is only 11 years old raised by two loving parents. Aminata is a freeborn Muslim, and a very innocent and good girl. Her parents always taught her to proper respect, and to not judge other and show everyone love. Aminata’s father told her “You must learn respect…than you must learn to hide your disrespect” (Hill, 21). Aminata was also taught how to deliver babies by her mother when she was younger and she became quite good at it : “…my mother taught me to reach inside a women”(Hill, 15). Her life turned around when she was abducted by Touab a 11 years old to be in sold into the slave trade, and both of her parents were killed.
As I read this book I made a couple short term and long term predictions as what would happen to Aminata. The main short term prediction I made was that Aminata would get really close with the other slaves. I predicted that after she gets close they will soon begin to formulate a plan to attempt to escape once she has a trusted relationship with the other slaves. When i look at this from an reader response point of view I think of a similar experience I have had. I related this to the experience when my parents immigrated to Canada from Bosnia, they did not know the language, so they got close with other people who were in the same situation to help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. This experience, my parents told me about, influenced my prediction, that since Amanita is in a bad situation, she will try to unify with people in the same situation to try to fix the problem. The main long term experience i predicted was that as the book goes on and she develops a plan, Aminata and a few other slaves will escape the Touab. This prediction looked at in a reader response perspective
reminds me of when I was put in a situation where I had to leave it. I had been in a friendship with someone who was getting himself into trouble, and I knew I had to find o
ut a way to get out of that friendship so I would not be influenced to go down the same path.
The author of the book had done a great job at writing descriptively, constantly giving me an image and making me feel like I am in the story. With this descriptive writing leads to me experiencing a lot of metal images of the characters. The first character i got a clear mental image of was when the author described Aminata. As the author is introducing her, I instantly had a clear image of a young innocent girl with good intentions.
This book has taught me a lot about myself as person and a reader as well. The book has taught me that I could not be as strong as Aminata is through this terrible situation. The author is very descriptive and it has made me feel like these horrible things are happening to me, and at times in the book I realize that I could not handle the situation as well as Aminata. The loss of both her parents, and being put through cruelty at such a young age in the book has showed me that I may not be able to handle the situation in a logical way, and would constantly break down. The book has also taught me a lot about myself as a reader. For example, when it gets to a boring moment in the book, I tend to zone out and read the words without actually processing what is happening. I have also learned that when I read I visualize everything that is happening in my head. Almost like a movie in my head, I imagine how characters and scenery looks.
Overall the book has been a very great experience. I have been constantly analyzing the book from a reader response and It has taught me a lot about myself. I have really enjoyed The book of Negroes so far and definitely look forward to the rest.
Hill, Lawrence. The book of negroes. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2015. Print.