The Book of Negroes: Archetypal

Aminata Diallo, the main character in “The Book of Negroes,” is the true hero of this novel. She goes through many losses and hardships but is able to keep going in order to fight for her freedom.

In the second part of this novel, Aminata has two children named Mamadu and May. They were both taken from her. Mamadu, who was only ten months old “disappeared into the darkness as fast as a falling star,” (Hill, 260) when she saw Appleby (her master) put him into the arms of another man on a carriage. May, at the age of three, was taken to Boston with some people who had previously taken care of Aminata and her daughter, in order to avoid the disturbances that were happening in Nova Scotia (486). She has had both of her children taken away from her. Then she finds out that “the Joseph went down,” the ship her husband Chekura was on. “Everybody on board was lost. The captain, the crew, the Loyalists white and black” (517). Aminata has literally lost everything. She had no family anymore.

This isn’t the only thing she goes through though. She has to fight many diseases and illnesses as well as continue to live the life as a slave. She was stolen from her village and forced into slavery, walked for many days, was raped, wasn’t allowed to practice her religion, beaten, and called names. She had been through so much that it was very surprising that she didn’t just give up. Because really, what did she have left? She was stripped of her dignity, lost her children, husband, and her family back home, and had no freedom at all. She moved plantations losing the friends she had made but of course, making new ones with her kind personality. I mean, what would you do without your family, friends, and your true self? It’s all gone, what do you do now? I know that many would give up. Aminata isn’t one of those people.

At this point in the novel, Aminata has gotten away from her previous slave owner, Solomon Lindo, and is residing in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. She had come to the realization that she “would never see May again, and it was time to move on” (518). She then decided that she was going to leave Nova Scotia in search for her homeland, Bayo. “On January 15, 1792, our fifteen ships lifted anchor and set sail for Sierra Leone” (519).

I can predict that Aminata will continue with courage throughout the rest of the novel showing that she is a true hero. She has such a kind personality and makes friends wherever she goes. She taught people how to write and read which many Africans didn’t know how to do, since she was taught by her father at a young age. She had such a great interest of reading, that she would read books as often as she could, furthering her knowledge. She also caught babies on the sidelines of being a slave, which she was taught how to do by her mother also at a young age. This helped her earn money that helped her survive. She has a lot of knowledge, is very smart, and very hopeful. She hates the life she has lived but wants freedom not only for herself, but for all the other slaves as well. I know she won’t stop trying until freedom is achieved. It’s just the type of woman she is.

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