The Importance Of Name In 'the Book Of Negroes'

1026 words - 5 pages

Names having great meaning in human civilization. They can have personal meaning and help create the foundation for a sense of self and identity. They're often rooted in a persons heritage and culture and therefore can serve to remind a person of where they come from. They help create a sense of recognition and familiarity between people and ultimately a sense of solidarity and community. Names can also be used as a form of respect and affection or as signs of disrespect. These various roles that names serve can be seen through out Lawrence Hills 'Book of Negroes'. In the novel Hill repeatedly makes reference to names and the meaning they carry for the novels heroine, Aminata Diallo and ...view middle of the document...

Aminata describes them as wanting to have their names be known so that people know who they were and that they had lived. Another example of the importance of names can be seen when Biton looks at Aminata during the auction and says her name. Once again, by referring to Aminata by her name Biton is acknowledging and affirming Aminata's identity and importance. With these examples Hill continuously reminds the reader that names are tied to our sense of self and identity.

Lawrence Hill also connects names to family and culture. The African names of the slaves in particular are portrayed as powerful symbols of family and culture. In fact, Aminata's character often describes how hearing her real name brings her home in her mind and provides her with comfort and strength. This especially important to her character because her parents were killed and her name is one of the few things that continue to connect her to them. For the slaves holding onto their names is an act of defiance and a way of holding onto their family and culture.

Hill also uses names and naming as way of demonstrating power and domination. This can be seen when the white slave owners assign new names to their slaves to signify their ownership and power. An example of this can be seen when Aminata has her name 'Americanized' and changed to Meena Dee. This is represented as a way of erasing her personal history and origins. By denying their slaves their true names the slave owners are effectively denigrating their slaves and stripping them of any importance. To further illustrate this denigration, Hill portrays slave owners as not feeling the need to learn their slaves proper names because they are thought to be unimportant and inferior. For the slave owners Aminata's name is a symbol of her African origins and by definition inferior. Moreover, by changing Aminata's name the slave owners are attempting to create and impose a new identity onto...

Find Another Essay On The Importance of Name in 'The Book of Negroes'

Racial Discrimination in the books Snow Falling On Cedars and The Book of Negroes

1010 words - 5 pages of literature and verbal presentations. A discourse on racial discrimination will be used to exemplify how individuals abuse their rights, categorize humans and ill treat others through an exploration of the texts in, Snow Falling On Cedars and The Book of Negroes. These novels have given an insight of the discrimination between different classes of people and the unfavorability of one’s kind. Firstly, abusing someone’s rights show that people

Love and Happiness in Elephants by Sarah Gruen and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

981 words - 4 pages Happiness is essential for one to be sane. Love leads to happiness and this is shown in the novels Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. Characters in both novels try to find happiness through love, but it ultimately leads to despair because of the death or loss of a loved one. Happiness is fulfilled through the form of love. To begin with, Jacob has respect and love for his parents that have been

Identity as a Name in The Importance of Being Earnest

830 words - 4 pages Wilde uses Gwendolen’s and Cecily’s obviously superficial affection towards each other to again accentuate and criticize the importance that the Victorian’s placed on an individual’s name. The practice of naming others as a means to display one’s own dominance is satirized by the irony in the argument between the two young ladies. The audience detects that they are undoubtedly fighting over Ernest as well as superiority, but their true feelings

Identity as a Name in The Importance of Being Earnest

1387 words - 6 pages by naming” (272). They name each other with false terms of endearment in order to superficially justify their argument as acceptable by Victorian standards. Works Cited Becnel, Kim. "Literary Contexts In Plays: Oscar Wilde's "The Importance Of Being Earnest." Literary Contexts In Plays: Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance Of Being Earnest' (2006): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.Bromige, David. The Importance of Being Earnest

Book Review Of The Name Of The Rose: The Name Of The Truth

802 words - 3 pages Adso during the seven days at the monastery.This is a wonderful book. The author does so much more than just tell a story. "The Name of the Rose" is an exciting and thrilling book, in which the principal mystery is the truth itself.

In the Name of Science

1578 words - 7 pages inconclusive results that have been produced (Dosomething.org). It is wrong to harm these animals to further our own desires. I can safely say that a majority of the public who might support animal testing would be against any harm coming to their pets. So why does it suddenly become morally acceptable when we stand to gain something? Therein lays the moral injustice in animal testing and what we, as people, are willing to accept in the name of science

in the name of god

1090 words - 5 pages discovery led many Spaniards to the new world with the intention of settling the lands but eventually this was the start of devastating of cultures, human populations and traditions. Using power and coercion they spread fear and destruction in the aim of gaining wealth, social precedence and Christian conversion. The justification for the massacres of the indigenous people in the name of religion was no more than greed to gold, fame and status. The

In the Name of Caesar

676 words - 3 pages , they both wanted to control the crowd, they were friends with Caesar, and they were Roman Senators. Both speeches had a different objective. They were given to honor the name of Caesar. Brutus truly did love Caesar, but he loved Rome more, as he said in his speech. Antony spoke with more passion and used evidence. He talked about his love for Caesar and didn't speak negatively of him. If Brutus was less vague during his speech, spoke with passion and used persuasive devices that Antony used, maybe things would have turned for the better rather than worse.

Jill Lepore's the Name of War: A Book Review

2753 words - 11 pages 1 THE NAME OF WAR: A REVIEW From the time of their first arrival in the 1620s and 1630s, New England colonists, who had left England and its persecutions and corruptions, were worried about losing their Englishness and further sought to preserve this identity1. These doubts, however, only magnified as the years passed2. They believed that the Indians living amongst them were either native to the New World, therefore making them one with their

The Crusades in the Name of God

2605 words - 10 pages Several centuries after they ended, the Crusades are remembered as wars that were fought and lost in the name of God. The efforts and means utilized and maintained to continue to wage a battle for more than one hundred years is memorable nonetheless. While we say that these wars were fought in the name of God, it is simply not that easy to define. The causes for the Crusades cannot be traced to an isolated event but rather several factors

The Name of War

1291 words - 5 pages The Name of War In this historical and culturally divided book, Jill Lepore examines and tries to define the King Philips War and how people wrote about it. At the beginning of the colonies it was a start of a “New England" and after the King Philip’s War with all of the religious conflicts and war stories, a new American identity was born. Throughout this book she tells gruesome tales about murders, massacres, and battles. Even thought his

Similar Essays

The Book Of Negroes (Someone Knows My Name) By Lawrence Hill

1329 words - 5 pages Aminata Diallo is an eleven years old African girl, when her life changes completely, as she goes from a beloved daughter to an orphan that is captured and enslaved. Aminata is shown in the novel Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill as a strong young protagonist that is able to survive the odyssey around the world first as a slave and later as a free activist agent of the British. In the book, her various stages of her life are always

The Book Of Negroes By Lawrence Hill

1698 words - 7 pages plantation in the southern states and serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes”, which eventually leads her to manor houses of London. “This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the United States for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an

The Book Of Negroes Expository Essay

1500 words - 6 pages It is impossible for anyone to survive a horrible event in their life without a relationship to have to keep them alive. The connection and emotional bond between the person suffering and the other is sometimes all they need to survive. On the other hand, not having anyone to believe in can make death appear easier than life allowing the person to give up instead of fighting for survival. In The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, Aminata Diallo

The Book Of Negroes, By Lawrence Hill

2074 words - 8 pages During the course of the African-American slave trade, slaves experienced a significant loss of culture and customs native to their homelands. When abducted from their homes and brought to their new land, slave-owners often forced their slaves to take new names that were more recognizable to the Caucasian population. The main character in The Book of Negroes, Aminata, is referred to by several names throughout the course of her life. Her