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First, Oed. Then, Phoen. Ensis inpius also at Met. The emphatic placement of inpius is typical. Bernstein [], ff. These words hint at the place of St. Ira and its derivatives appear 2X more frequently in St. See further nn. The Furies visited Thebes often, and probably before Laius' murder cf. The distinction between Furiae , the goddesses of vengeance i. But since editors print Furiarum here, they are wrong to print furias at 1. But it prefigures an even greater transgression in book 7, when the earth opens to admit Amphiaraus, alive, into the underworld 7.

This in turn provokes and is answered by Capaneus' assault on heaven 8. Feeney [], , so that the three realms of the poem's universe celestial, terrestrial, and infernal all suffer invasion. For the interaction between these realms throughout the Th. One of Barth's glossographi is perfectly logical here: 'apud inferos credibile est nihil gigni …. See further f. But the delay of inuidia until l. Thus the abstract emotion acquires some of the unpleasant concreteness of a 'cankerous blight' Hall , 'livide souillure' Lesueur , or 'blue-black bile' Ross ; cf.

For inuidia in Roman thought, cf. Kaster and There are further complexities:. Critical Apparatus 16 uoluptas S3 pc s uel -un-. Donnelly , ff. Cooke , ff. He translates: 'Thereupon one, before the rest, a spirit that even in the upper world had always been perversely disposed to rejoice at the misfortunes of others and to grieve at their prosperity—for this reason, too, his had been a dreadful death…'. Modern discussion of the anonymous shade and his relationship to the anonymous Theban of the first book 1.

We may wish to go further than this, and see the two anonymous speakers not merely as a thematic pair, but as the same person cf. Heuvel on 1. As the anonymous Theban he is no simple, abusive Thersites, but in fact makes a complaint against alternating rule that is in line with St. Ahl [], His words as a shade in turn do not seem to indicate indiscriminate malice i.

An intriguing character, then, presented to us as a malicious trouble-maker, but much more human and sympathetic in his actual words. This passage has a tantalizing link with Pun. There is a more playful link to VF 7. Critical Apparatus 17 est grauis Cruceus, Gronovius. To the inferi , the human world is superus OLD 2. The same usage at 2. On this death, see 16—18n. If the ghost is to be identified with the anonymous Theban 16—18n. Mulder on It is also programmatic, rejecting the relative benevolence of the Virgilian universe in favour of a gloomier world view nn.

The vicious irony of the shade's speech is immediately apparent, and once again, Virgilian familial piety is perverted nn. Laius is anything but felix nati pietate. See also nn. The anaphora of 20f. A strange effect, given the unacknowledged presence of Mercury for his obscurity in the underworld, cf. Ahl [], , but fitting for a speech which describes an Erinys as 'greater than Jupiter' and a Thessalis as a 'priestess' infra. The ascending tricolon seu … imperio; seu … contra; seu … sepulcro is given a cruel bite by the descending order of the powers described: from the supreme ruler of the gods, to a spirit of vengeance, to a human necromancer.

It also recalls, in reverse order, the triple motivation of the Theban war: Jupiter's mandate 1. Finally, it highlights the tension between the celestial Iouis , infernal Erinys , and terrestrial Thessalis realms that characterizes the whole epic 12—14n.

Feeney [], f. The anonymous shade quickly abandons this benevolent explanation—the correct one actually, less the benevolence—in favour of more sinister alternatives, but the placement of an intertextually Virgilian Jupiter in the company of an Erinys and Thessalis is hardly complimentary 49n. Ioue or Iouis imperio ; cf. Several translators avoid the apparent difficulties of this phrase by treating maior as magna e. Beraldus and Dubner following Wakefield understand as uetustior sc. Ioue , which is certainly true, but seems beside the point.

In fact, the shade's experience is limited: in the realm of 'black Jupiter' 49 nigrique Iouis , generally free from the influence of Olympus, a Fury's power may actually be greater than that of celestial Jupiter so a gloss cited by Barth : 'maiorem nempe apud inferos habens potentiam'. The mention of an Erinys suggests several parallels. First, the Fury in Seneca's Thyestes 23ff. We are reminded, too, of Tisiphone's influence on the sons of Oedipus in the previous book 1. The verb often has a violent connotation, and here reinforces the hostile sense of 21 ire diem contra infra.

But the preposition contra usually implies hostility OLD 13, 15—20; cf. We are reminded that Laius' ascent constitutes a violation of the natural order 12—14n. But note that Laius will never see the daylight, only night 23f. Anastrophe of this preposition is particularly common in poetry TLL 4.

The shade thus figures Laius' journey as a perverted Virgilian katabasis , not a living son descending to the underworld to visit his dead father and learn the glorious future of his posterity, but a dead grandfather rising to haunt his living grandson and plant the seeds of war that will destroy his descendants. Laius will in fact be summoned from the underworld by a sacerdos , Tiresias, in the fourth book, who distinguishes between Thessalian witchcraft and his own practice 4.

Vessey [], f. Critical Apparatus 23 heu ] et s : i Garrod. This picture of the living world can be contrasted at every point with the underworld we have encountered thus far. But Laius will not in fact see any of what the ghost describes. He appears to Eteocles at night and flees before the sunrise f. The Thebes he visits comprises the 1. He does see 62f. See further Newlands Note that the two most obvious models for Laius' ascent, the Senecan Thyestes and Tantalus, both resist their journey to the living world Ag. Critical Apparatus 24 puris J4. The alliteration of 't' and 'r' reflects the savagery of the ghost's sentiment Mulder.

And the closing hemistich matches that of 22 iubet emigrare sepulcro , especially the slow intrature : as Laius left the underworld, so he will return. Critical Apparatus 26 ut ] et Watt. In fact, atque … hiatus is a temporal clause after 26 ut , and these six lines form a single period comprising three couplets difficult to translate this into English : two temporal clauses joined by atque 26f. Anderson , 10f. Aurally, the passage is quite evocative.

Repetition of 'r', 's', 'x', and 'c' suggests the growling, hissing, and menace of Cerberus. The final line like the final line of the previous section; 25n. This passage continues the inversion of the katabasis of Aeneas and the Sibyl 21f. In Aen. Here, Cerberus blocks an ascent and the impious apparition of a dead grandfather to his living grandson, and delays the grandfather from fostering the destruction of his race.

I find such lines, less than 0. Forms of ille constitute nearly a quarter of the occurrences, and often provide a link to a newly introduced character here linking Mercury and Laius to Cerberus : cf. But the emphatic placement of 26 illos and 27 Cerberus implies what Watt seeks to express by emendation: 'When they [turning our attention from the envious shade] were noticed by Cerberus [as opposed to the infernal landscape or inhabitants of ll.

Critical Apparatus 27 utque O3 ss. Omnes is emphatic: Cerberus lifts up all his heads, canine and serpentine for Cerberus' snakes, cf. Critical Apparatus 28 f. At Hor. Virgil's colla are the canine necks of Cerberus; St. For Cerberus as a man-eater, cf. Cerberus raises his snakes like hackles: cf. Apollonius' scene 4. Norden ad loc. Furthermore, in Valerius Flaccus' version, Medea wields a Lethaeus ramus 8. The river Lethe, whose basic property is forgetfulness, is naturally and frequently associated with sleep Verg.

The pacification of Cerberus with a magic wand seems to be a Statian innovation Mulder ad loc. Although scholars often claim that golden lines are used to end periods or descriptions [ Mayer , n. The diction is bold infra. And the line ending lumina somno forms a aural link to the first line of the couplet 30 uimine mulcens and the first line of the passage 26 limine sensit.

For St. Atropos , 8. Critical Apparatus 32 dixerunt ] quem dicunt S2. The lofty promontory; the bay; the sounds of the underworld. Seneca offers precedent for a long ekphrasis of the gate to the underworld at Taenarus Her. The first section is further divided into three couplets 35f. The second section is divided into three parts, each part itself a couplet joined by — que 49 nigrique , 51 atroque , 53 Letique. End-stopping and spondaic texture in the first section suit the description of the lofty peaks of Taenarus; enjambment in the second section 50 mortibus , 52 feruet ager quickens the pace.

Note too the dynamic use of space and time: St. Claudian uses our passage as a model for his description of Megaera emerging from the underworld Ruf. There is also a link to the most famous est locus of Latin literature, Aen. Again, St. Fortgens on 6. Only here in St. The word may have been chosen for its similarity to Italiae in St. Taenarus held a cave associated with a sanctuary of Neptune 43—7n. Tisiphone uses it, like Laius, as an exit Th. Critical Apparatus 33 quo M3. Malea's inclusion here suggests St.

Taenarus is the most suitable place for Laius and Mercury to exit the underworld, and Malea's well-known dangers contribute to the mood of the description. But Malea is more than 60 km east of Taenarus, separated by the Gulf of Laconia. Here, it seems that St. In this book: 11, 36, 57, 68, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ; also 42, , , , , , where et is replaced by an elided at que or ut que. The pattern recurs regularly in this section every second line, excluding the spurious 37—40 : 36 despicit et , 42 exigit atque.

This implied morning contrasts with the following line i. Following Mulder , four further objections may be raised add too the repetition of illic at 37 and 45, which seems un-Statian; see also Mulder ad loc. The transition from morning 36 to evening 41 is obscured by these lines. While the first two objections show that the lines clearly do not belong here, the last two are weak infra , and there is no reason to believe the lines are not Statian so Hall —their author was certainly familiar with the works of St. The image in Virgil and Lucan is of menacing stillness, undercut here by exhausti.

Critical Apparatus 38 fulminibusque quies Postgate : fulminibus nec iter Watt. It originates in Lucretius' caua nubes 6. Poets sometimes use this technical sense in describing storm clouds—probably the case here—but often the epithet is decorative e. The compound verb perhaps suggested by the prefix in Aen. It may have been suggested by 7. But the pl. Critical Apparatus 41 atque ubi Barthius. Pronus so used at 3. The masc. The setting sun responds to the setting stars 36 , moving focus from morning to evening and from the peak of Malea out to sea, where the shadow of the promontory stretches in the evening sunlight.

Mulder reads Malea , not 42 umbra, as the subject OLD exigo 4 reads mons as the subject. Not impossible, but the two parallels he adduces are unconvincing, and may in fact support the opposite reading: S. See Mulder for St. The juxtaposition umbra profundo prefigures the reappearance of the infernal world in a few lines; note umbra s at the ends of ll.

The line echoes Virgil's description of Entellus entering the boxing match: Aen. An intertext perhaps best read in reverse, as an augmentation of Virgil: thanks to St. But the details of his description are sparse: as elsewhere, St. Frangere commonly describes cliffs set against the sea e.

Mulder , TLL 6. Commentators' confusion stems from the fact that frangentia litora does not refer to the shoreline of the interior sinus which has a sandy beach: 46 harenas , but rather to the peninsula in general. Critical Apparatus 44 expositus Baehrens : -os codd. The word is so used at Ach. Anderson also compares Aen.

We may add Livy For expositus describing the sea, I find only two examples, both in prose and neither used absolutely as is the transmitted reading, expositos … fluctus : Mela 3. Anderson convincingly explains expositos as a 'correction' of the apparent double epithet, expositus non audax expositus is in fact predicative with scandere ; the proximity of Taenaros , with a seeming acc. The emendation removes a matching adj. Scandere is found in a similar context at Ach. But Kohlmann's scindere deserves some consideration: cf.

Critical Apparatus 45 illic cett. The variant illuc , found in some MSS and printed by Hall , is un-Statian: everywhere else, the word is paired with huc 2. Neptunius 5X. Neptune's absence sharpens the struggle between the celestial and infernal realms, ruled by his two brothers a subset of the larger cosmology that involves the terrestrial realm, 12—14n. Feeney , ff. This link rounds off the topographical description of Taenarus, and shifts the focus back to land after an excursion to sea. Neptune's steeds are fish-tailed hippocampi cf. Hippocampus , but rarely in literature.

They are mentioned briefly by Strabo 8. Hippocampi appear again as the steeds of Neptune at Ach. Their description here is comically grotesque, fitting with St. An inversion to fit with St. Here, the horses 'paw the sand' SB , i. But the verb may also subtly support the inversion of the Virgilian intertext Aen. OLD 8a , they disappear or 'dissolve' into the water as a god or spirit may dissolve into the air [so OLD 12a]: e.

This phrase need not be a disclaimer of authorial doubt pace Ahl [], , as at, e. Stinton [], 65; Harrison on Aen. More specifically, it acknowledges that underworld scenes are a particularly well-worn literary theme. For this phrase, cf. Pallor and its derivatives are favourite Statian words St. Virgil best depicts the pale glow of underworld spirits: Aen.

Pallor is associated everywhere in poetry with the underworld and its inhabitants cf. The epithet is a variation on inuius , 'impassable': cf. For the dead themselves, the path to the underworld is neither deuius nor inuius : Aen. At his first appearance in the epic, Dis is figured as a 'black Jupiter', commencing his role as an 'anti-Jupiter' that is most fully expressed at the beginning of book 8 e.

Feeney [], ff. In St. Niger is a particularly clever epithet, given the ancient etymology of Jupiter as dies pater Var. As in the speech of the anonymous shade 20n. The character of Jupiter in the Th. When the situation calls for it, the opposite may be true: from Oedipus' twisted viewpoint, Tartarus is angusta poenis 1. Our passage is the first of two links between St. Reading the intertext both 'forwards' and 'backwards' see 42n. The adj. Here it puns on the folk etymology of the name Dis , 'the rich one' cf.

The pun again at S. The diction and rhythm of St. Augoustakis But geographical accuracy does not seem to have been St. Alternatively, Arcadii and coloni are metapoetic 'Virgilian' words signalling the Eclogues and Georgics , respectively , anticipating St. The 'Alexandrian footnote' cf. Hinds [], 1ff. The coloni report mostly sounds stridor, gemitus, sonuere, auditus , inferring their sources: appropriately eerie cf. Some modern translators take stridor with poenarum e.

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Stridor can describe several infernal sounds, including the noise of spirits, screeching birds, hissing snakes, howling dogs, screams of pain, or dragging chains associated with punishment Juv. This last possibility is suggested by two models, Sen. It may be the sounds of this scene that the coloni hear—or that St. The vague 'tumult' alludes to infernal apparitions, described in greater detail in one of St. Claudian's imitation of this passage: Ruf.

Eumenidum … diem ; 'r' sounds in 53f. Critical Apparatus 53 Lethesque Friesemannus. There are verbal correspondences between the final line of Polynices' journey before he enters Argive territory 1. This draws a thematic and perhaps temporal link between Laius' invasion of the human realm 12—14n. See 1n. Noon, like midnight, was a witching hour in the ancient world: cf. The return of Cerberus, the last to see Laius and Mercury in the underworld 26ff. The description of Diana's grove in book 4 ends with the same image: 4.

Critical Apparatus 55 hac T ul cett. Laius recognizes his places of birth and death, and reluctantly enters the royal palace. Elsewhere, it is Laius who is likened to Allecto nn. Virgil uses similar words when linking a character's action to a preceding description Aen. I cannot see the point of emending hac hoc Schraderus: hinc Hall : cf. I print tunc , rather than the more common variant tum , to preserve the repetition of et tunc here and at 71 where tunc is the unanimous reading ; for the two spellings, see Hall 3 , f. The juxtaposition fusca uolucer suggests the phrase fuscis … alis used to describe Virgil's Allecto Aen.

The word also contibutes a 'u' to the six in this aurally evocative line. It suggests both the befouling of the god's anthropomorphic appearance cf. The latter image is further developed in the following lines. Critical Apparatus 57 decutit D. The minor variant decutit from 61 decedit see there the variant discedit , from discutit here.

Like the more common adj. Significantly, fresh breezes clear Mercury's face, as they might a cloudy sky. Claudian inverts and modifies this scene Ruf. The star and constellation were noted for three things: a northern position in the sky BC 5.


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Soubiran, Germ. The first two apply here. Mercury travels 'amid the light shed by Arcturus' Anderson [], , cl. Mulder , and around midnight, before Arcturus has begun to set. The storms associated with Arcturus may also have informed St. Critical Apparatus 59 meat ] uolat Alton. See also 62n. Here, Sopor acknowledges Mercury's numen as he leads the dead Laius to visit his sleeping grandson. Mercury's superiority to Sopor is no less emblematic than the victories of Mars over Venus or Tisiphone over Pietas 3.

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Like so much else in the Th. Austin on Aen. The first effect of this will be the haunting of Eteocles' dreams n. Taking a biographical approach, we may also note that St. Augoustakis ; see also Gibson on S. Somnus and Sopor used interchangeably are personified to various degrees throughout the epic: 1. At Sopor is the charioteer of Cynthia, i. Each goddess has her own chariot for Nox , cf. Ion f. LIMC s. Selene , and St. In book 12, Juno needed the services of both moonlight and sleep, while here there would be little point in showing Mercury deflecting the moon from its course: it is the night of the Theban festival, not the moon, that Laius is about to disturb.

Thus, narrative and thematic concerns place Sleep in the employ of two different goddesses. But Cicero includes them in a list of honorabilia Sen. But adsurgit is not figurative cf. Sleep receives humorous treatment again in book 10, where Iris struggles to gain his attention Critical Apparatus 61 discedit J1 M3. Critical Apparatus 62 uolat G cett. Or perhaps a terrifying one: in this passage and the next, repeated references to vision, recognition, and 'self' 64 despectat , 67 uidit ; 66 notos ; 63 sui , 64 suo , 67 suamet all point to Oedipal themes, anticipating Laius' recognition of the chariot in which he was murdered 67f.

It yields 'meat … meat' 59—62 , but such repetitions are common see further 71f. The topic usually receives incidental comment e. And although we soon learn that Laius is clearly travelling through the air cf. Alton , f. By a widespread belief of Stoic origin, body and soul were earth and ethereal fire combined, which returned to the ground and sky at death Legras [], ; Dewar on 9. The stolen stars are surely those that shine above Thebes—Laius' propria astra —but principium does not strictly mean his 'birthplace' pace Mozley , Melville , Rupprecht , Ross , and Hall.

Oedipus himself describes the site of Laius' death at 1. Cirrha, the harbour town of Delphi in Phocis, is used interchangeably with Delphi throughout the Th. Cirrha : 3. Cirrhaeus replaces Delphicus everywhere in St. The Delphic oracle warned Laius that his son would kill him, and Oedipus that he would kill his father and marry his mother.

Father and son met near Delphi as Oedipus was seeking the identity of his parents and Laius the fate of the child he had exposed. Surprisingly, polluere appears only twice more in the Th. The idea in each occurrence is closest to the Greek concept of miasma cf. Johnson [], ff. Here too it is Laius' own hatred that drives him on 69f. But uentum erat ad is a convenient near-hemistich, commonly found at verse openings Aen. The subject of the verb is unclear for a moment, all the more so because of the impersonal uentum erat and the surprising limina nati infra.

The belated appearance of Laius , placed in enjambment, underscores the remarkable fact that a spirit of hell is dismayed by the house he has come to haunt. We recall that Laius' visitation, though on Jupiter's orders, is an answer to Oedipus' prayer 1. The mention of Oedipus also explains Laius' groaning, and hints at the motivation for his visiting Eteocles 69f. Tonant is … re tinent , 71 noto sig nata Tonan tis.

As Laius enters the home of his son, natus echoes Ovidian soundplay: cf. Critical Apparatus 66 cunctatus B G ac? The association of the Penates with ancestral spirits reinforces this sense of notus , although penates is a common metonymy for domus but St. Pollmann on With the alternative reading, cunctatur , the tense changes pointlessly from perf.

The ending — tur also destroys the sequence notos cu nctatus … pe nates. Critical Apparatus 67 nexa uel fixa Wakefield. Laius sees his chariot and its yoke, which were kept separate when not in use Mulder , cl. Barth wonders at the 'inertiam aut impietatem' of Eteocles and Polynices, who have not cleaned their grandfather's blood from his chariot; Mulder wonders why the bloodstained chariot did not reveal Oedipus' patricide to him immediately; we may also wonder how and why the chariot found its way from Phocis to Thebes furthermore, the accumulation of poetic plurals [ iuga, columnis, currus ] seems excessive for a description of one yoke, one column, and one chariot.

Mulder concludes, 'Sed talia noster non curat'. Probably true, but such troubling questions add to the surreal effect of Laius seeing the chariot in which he died. I retain et celsis in part to preserve the sequence ut … et … suam et , picked up in the following line uid it et inf ect os et iamnum ; see also 57n. Fletcher ; see also n. The rhyme with the preceding et emphasizes the suffix. The word continues the sequence 63 sui , 64 suo , and has the same pointed significance 64n.

In support of Wakefield's conjectures, nexa or fixa , cf. Critical Apparatus 69 pone M4 ac , Mueller. Critical Apparatus 69f. Klotz , or—we infer—Laius is driven on not by Jupiter or Mercury, but by the very sights that threatened to scare him off: the desire for revenge has bred in Laius an 'inmortale odium' 4. Though briefly humanized by his fear, in the end Laius is an embodiment of the evil that infects the Theban line.

For the commands, see 2n. The substantive first in Ovid 8X , quite frequent thereafter in poetry of every genre 25X in the Th. Mercury was born on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. The spiramina describe some emanation; for the idea, cf. Nouns with the suffix - men are particularly common in St. Critical Apparatus 71 et ] it Baehrens. Simile: the mountain dancing of the Theban women compared to the savage feasts of the Bistones. Dodds , xiii ff. De Prim. Dionysus ]; cf. General bibliography at Horsfall on Aen.


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Aeneas' meeting with Evander during the festival of Hercules Invictus cf. Eden ad loc. See also —51n. The story of Semele and Bacchus is indeed well known in St. Note the repetition of noto 66 notos , Tonantis 69 , praerepti 72 and 62 praereptaque , and et tunc 55 and 71 , linking this section with the previous. For other repetitions with structural functions, see nn. Critical Apparatus 72 praerepti : -rupti codd. Mulder's defence of praerupti 'partum, si praereptus sit, nihil prorsus transmittere posse' is not convincing, but highlights a paradox: Bacchus' natural birth was taken from him when his unnatural birth transferred him to Jupiter.

This name, with its wild associations, contrasts with the adj. For the many names, epithets, and incarnations of Bacchus, cf. Throughout the epic Tyrius from Cadmus, prince of Tyre and founder of Thebes is equivalent to Thebanus. Davis , f. Critical Apparatus 74 educere cett. The high-roller league included Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones, successful billionaire hedge fund managers who make even more than the Patriots' Tom Brady and also have actively pursued investments in professional sports teams.

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The U. Attorney in Miami is also investigating Biogenesis, meaning Rodriguez could be called as a witness and questioned under oath. Foxconn also said it was supporting government plans to protect the Taihu lake basin, and advocated other companies should do the same. They add that Beijing can also undertake steps that unleash the growth potential of urbanization. There has been big progress on this issue," said oneof the three sources, a Turkish official close to the talks. Another ship comes and they are again rounded up according to their medical conditions. Growing up in a progressive society that is more attentive to human rights leaves me baffled at all the horrific things people had to live through on a daily basis.

Every page of this book was a new revelation to me. I love books because the difference from learning about the struggles of the past, with words and literature I can actually feel and live the things that the characters experience. For Aminata as she recalls these experiences, she does not once complain or exclaim the unfairness. She simply lives through it and deals with the toubab head on. During the time on the farm, some notable events happen!

Unexpectedly the very scary and serious Mamed has made an offer to secretly teach Aminata how to read. As time goes on, Aminata is able to read, speak, and write in English but in order not to infuriate her Master she must act stupidly and not raise his suspicions.

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At this point in time, Aminata is a young lady that has only recently starting to have her menstrual cycle which makes the climax of Book 2 even more drastic: Appleby rapes Aminata. He rapes her out of anger as Aminata is still seeing Chekura and there relationship is budding. With jealousy he takes something from her that she wanted to save for her loved one: Chekura.

This was the first time I read about rape in the first person and I saw it coming but it was so quick. For me, after that moment Aminata is an adult. His words still echo through my brain and that is the control he has over her being and her everything. The next major thing I wanted to discuss that was again heartbreaking and disgusting was what Appleby did to Aminata.

When Aminata begins to recover from being sexually assaulted and her strength again shines through, despite everything that happenes to her, Appleby rips her newfound happiness away from her multiple of times. The first is when Aminata begins to feel like a real woman when she secretly marries her lover, Chekura, and she is impregnated. After a months go by, she has also grown out her hair beautifully. But when Appleby learns of her lover from the fact that her stomach has grown huge, he humiliates her by asking her to come into the big circle where all the workers on the plantation gather around.

He asks her to strip naked in front of everyone and throw her fires into the fire that was just made. He would do whatever he wanted, anyway. After he makes her throw her clothes in the fire, he commands her to scrubs herself in a small tub where everyone is watching. He then pours buckets of water over her and asks her to bend over or sit down. Robinson Appleby then begins to snip all her hair. It reminded her that despite everything that she was still standing and it was also what she tried to grow out despite being raped.

Aminata rarely cries and that was a moment that we so painful because something broke within her.

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She even goes to beg him to stop which she rarely does. Even when she was being raped, she just choked down her cries and stopped begging. He tortures her further by forcing her to look in the mirror. The worst thing that Appleby could do to Aminata was strip her of her inner self and that was exactly what he did. All the physical and emotional pain Aminata went through she could handle because she believed in herself and her strength. But the moment he destroys that, she can barely live with herself.

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It was March of , when Aminata conceived her baby and called her boy Mamadu after her father. And for me I thought finally Aminata can have something to hold onto that can give her strength again. But being too naive I forgot about Appleby too soon. He comes in again to destroy her life. I rolled over to bring him close, to relieve his cries… My hand brushed against the bed of woven grasses.

The bed. The air. My own body. Nothing else. I opened my eyes…. I had thought the previous events Appleby could never surpass the next actions he does, but each time he has proven me wrong. If I could slap and hit Appleby in that moment I would with all my being. He laughed in her face! The agony with which Aminata crumples to the ground fully reveals her desperation. But I would have killed Robinson Appleby then. My heart and my body were screaming for Mamadu. But my baby was gone.

Sold, sold, sold. I think at that point I was crying so hard for her because I could try to imagine all the trouble to conceive a baby and have given birth to such a precious little being that was mine. Her husband stopped visiting her and she felt it was her fault. She not only had guilt because she thought it was her fault but she had not fight in her anymore. This novel follows the main character, Aminata, who is recounting her life in this book where the real book itself is like a memoir.

The book is not only adept at making the character quickly draw upon the descriptions to craft their own experiences, but it is extremely realistic that I felt I was reading a real memoir! Aminata in the present, is an old woman living in London who constantly visits the public to tell her stories. She feels that it is her duty to share her story as she has survived through so many hardships. Since she feels that she has been so fortunate to have lived so long, she recounts fragments of her past life. Her mother teaches her the secrets to catching babies and right from the start, readers can sense something special with Aminata.

This important backdrop sets the tone for the story. The smooth transition between the change of events really allowed me to live through the eyes of Aminata which is a prominent reason for why her account is so believable. The innocent descriptions of her thoughts and the feeling of helplessness as she watches the two people that she loves so dearly is heartbreaking. As well, I also felt helplessness because in that moment she was vulnerable and I wished I could have comforted her.

She is courageous even for such a young child! She knows that life must go on and so she accepts her fate but also hopes for the best. As the story goes on, we learn that Aminata has been kidnapped by what she calls toubabu, which we learn later is a white man. The novel is not too graphic in manner, but the descriptions Aminata recalls of her treatment is heart wrenching. She talks about her dignity and that these men have often tore piece and piece of her dignity away.

It may be obvious for some, but Aminata was unfortunately kidnapped into the slave trade. They walk for many day and nights where time is interestingly recounted differently by her people. For instance, she talks about time in regards to nature like three revolutions of the moon, fourteen rains, etc. Specifically in the first book, two characters Fomba and Fanta from her hometown provide her comfort as they have also been kidnapped into the slave coddle where they all wear yokes around their necks.

Fanta and Aminata are able to put away their past dislikes of each other to support one another. Aminata even helps Fanta catch her baby, Sanu.