For my online English course this summer, I decided to read “The Book of Negroes” by Lawrence Hill. I cried many times throughout this novel but can assure you that this is now my favourite book. It is a story about a girl in the slave trade and her journey to freedom. This girl is named Aminata Diallo and after reading this book, I realized that Lawrence Hill used the hero archetype to portray her journey to freedom.
In my opinion, I think that a hero is someone that is a kind-hearted person. This person faces many challenges throughout their journey but never gives up. They keep trying for what they want and eventually they succeed. Aminata Diallo is this person.
Aminata Diallo is kind to everyone she meets along her journey. I literally don’t think she has a bad bone in her body. She was taught how to read and write from a young age and uses this knowledge to teach others. She isn’t selfish with this gift. She loves learning and wants everybody to be able to share her gift. One person even said, “She’s the best teacher I ever done have” (Hill, 365). She also helps others when they are in need. On the side lines of being a slave, she is also a midwife. She delivers babies as a job. Again, she could have been selfish and decided not to help out these pregnant women, but she wanted to help them. A villain is mean and evil whereas a hero is kind and loving.
Aminata faces many challenges along this journey as well. She loses both of her parents, her children, and her husband. I honestly don’t know how she was able to survive after that. I know that without my parents, I do not know what I would do with myself. I think I would be depressed and unmotivated to do anything for a very long time. But she lost her ENTIRE family. I was surprised that she wasn’t a miserable wreck! She also was raped, beaten, fed only enough to survive, and lived as a slave for the majority of her life. Aminata kept trying though. She never gave up her dream of freedom. I think if I were her, I would eventually lose motivation and just tough it out. I’d make the best out of what I had.
Aminata isn’t like me though. She kept trying, and she never gave up. It was because of her motivation that made her succeed. She finally was able to obtain freedom when she arrived in England and told her story of her life in the slave trade. By doing this, she helped the abolitionist movement which will eventually stop slavery all together. It didn’t get to that point in the book, but I know it will happen.
Aminata was a hero to all the other African slaves because she got herself as well as the Africans, freedom (one day). She is a very motivational, fictional character that will continue to inspire me every day. She never gave up no matter how hard her life got.
What would you do if you were Aminata? Would you keep trying or would you give up? Let me know in the comments!