Learning Skills In The Book Of Negroes By Lawrence Hill

1353 Words 6 Pages
The Precious Gifts
The skills that one learns in early age will become precious surviving skills and opportunities in the place that one lives. The Book of Negroes is a novel written by Lawrence Hill. Aminata is an eleven years old girl when she becomes a slave. Different from some other slaves, Aminata is intelligent. She knows two different languages and baby catching skill. After she ships to North America, she learns how to read and write in English. These skills help her survive through the boat, South Carolina and Nova Scotia. Finally, she is free and back to her homeland. The baby catching skill, language skills and, reading and writing skills that Aminata learns in Bayo and St. Helena in her early age become essential for surviving
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In Charlestown, Aminata is in a self- hire system. Mr. Lindo says to Aminata that “ when you are not busy with that, you will start catching babies. With that you earn from that, you are going to start paying me ten shillings a week” (200). Aminata needs to earn some money in order to pay back to Mr. Lindo. If she does not have the ability of the baby catching, she will have a hard time in the self- hire system. In the self- hire system she is able to make a living as a midwife with the ability. Later, in Hamilton, she works as a midwife for the women in the holy ground. Aminata mentions that “among the officers in the British barracks at Broadway and Chambers, I became known as ‘One pound Meena’. With the money, I bought food, clothing and scraps of lumber to make it through a long, cold winter” (277). After escaping, Aminata loses her income resource. Fortunately, she has the baby catching skill and she could make a living and do not need to suffer in the cold winter. Being a midwife, Aminata is able to live better and be independent in North America. Therefore, being a midwife is critical for Aminata as it helps her survive in North America. In North America, Aminata applies her language skills in order to live …show more content…
In St. Helena Island Mamed teaches Aminata how to read and write in English secretly. And this skill changes her life. With the reading and writing skill, she is able to write down her experience and passes to the endless generation. She also emphasizes that “In the absence of an audience, I will write down my story so that is waits like a restful beast with lungs breathing and heart beating (101)”. She mentions that she does not like the way that the abolitionists write. If Aminata does not know how to read and write, she will not be able to know how the abolitionists edit her stories and her experiences. She is waiting for her reader and she believes her story will make people think. This skill is necessary in Aminata’s life because it is essential to tell people around the world about the historical event herself. Being able to read and write also brings her more opportunities in North

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