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Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Someone Knows My Name


Plot

Aminata, who is called Meena throughout this novel, is a black African muslim girl who lives in a small village called Bayo.  One day her father tells her the story of how he met her mother. He saw the future Mrs. Meena carrying yams on her head and this excited him. Her father loved the muscles of her legs and the heels of her feet.


Really, this is what we are supposed to believe--that Meena's dad was attracted to the bottom of her feet, not her breasts or ass. How could he even see the bottom of her feet? Already this book starts with ridiculousness.


Once he saw how beautiful her heels were, Meena's dad knew instantly that she would be his wife. So he romantically bought her from her father for six goats, seven bars of iron, ten copper pieces, and 400 seashells. 400 seashells! He must really have valued Meena's mom, heh heh.

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Meena encounters Fanta, the wife of the village chief, who dislikes Meena. For once she has good cause. Meena, still a child, takes Fanta's baby and tries to get it to suck her nipples. Fanta slapped her in the face when she caught Meena trying to simulate this erotic act with her baby.


Meena's mom is a "baby catcher", she reached into women's v_ginas and pulled out their babies when they were about to give birth, and Meena watched and learned how to put her hand inside a woman's v_gina to see if her hole was large enough to squeeze out the baby. Soon Meena is up to her elbows in sweaty, glistening v_ginas just like her Mom. Meena enjoys the smell and woman to woman contact.


Her Mom tells Meena that soon she will start bleeding from her v_gina, but not to worry, that Mom would take a sharp razor blade and cut off parts of it.  Meena was not excited about this but Mom told her that in their Muslim culture, no man would want to marry her unless part of her v_gina had been cut off. Meena points out that some girls die from having their v_ginas cut off but her Mom tells her not to worry, while it will be incredibly painful, Meena will love it!


But before Meena's Mom gets a chance to cut off her v_gina, she is captured by slavers. Meena sees a slaver club her Mom so hard that her brains come out. So now her Mom will never get the chance to cut off her v_gina. Then Meena's dad gets killed by a magical "firestick".


Meena is held down and one of her breasts is branded like she's a cow! She now bears the mark of her new master. As they march to the coast, Meena makes friends with a boy named Chekura. He's a slave himself and yet is also working for the slavers, helping them out. And yet Meena still likes Chekura even though Chekura helped enslave her.


Meena boards a ship for a long voyage. Did I mention that most of the slavers are black? Yes, blacks are enslaving blacks! Meena is made to sleep in the bed of the "Medicine Man", the local witch doctor. The Medicine Man tries to bone Meena but she gives him a firm stare and refuses. He accepts her refusal. Does anyone believe this?


Instead, the Medicine Man pulled other slaves into his bed, the same bed that Meena is also sleeping in. So Meena is forced to watch and listen while the Medicine Man boned other women two inches away from her! After boning a slave and "shuddering" inside of her, the Medicine Man would give the slave a bright bit of cloth as a reward, sort of like a sex souvenir.


Meena encounters Fanta on the slave ship. Fanta tells her that if they hadn't been enslaved, that Meena's father would have sold her to the village chief to become the village chief's junior wife, second to Fanta. Meena does not believe it. Fanta says if Meena had become the junior wife, that Fanta would have beaten her senseless.


When the Medicine Man pulls Fanta into his bed for some sex, afterwards Fanta takes a knife and kills the Medicine Man's favorite parrot. Then there is a slave revolt on the ship. The slaves get loose and start killing slavers. But the slavers have magical firesticks and kill many slaves. Fanta takes the knife and slits her own baby's throat. Does this make any sense to you?
Then Fanta takes the knife and kills the Medicine Man.


The slavers regain control of the ship and tie everyone up. Eventually they arrive at a Caribbean island called St. Helena where Meena is sold to Robinson Appleby. Appleby, who would later start a chain of popular burger restaurants up and down the east and west coast, at the time ran an indigo plantation. Indigo was used to dye clothes.


Meena at first worked for a light skinned black man named Mamed. Mamed had a white daddy and a black mommie, but here, if you are part black, you are all slave. Still, Mamed is a slave supervisor, so he is a higher class slave. He is even permitted to live in a shack and read books! Mamed secretly teaches Meena how to read and write.


Meena meets a slave named Georgia who kindly infects Meena with smallpox. Meena gets very sick for a month. But when she recovers, she is immune from smallpox. Georgia helps deliver babies and takes Meena along. Meena, who learned how to reach into ladies' v_aginas from her Mom, helps in the same way.


Meena learns how dye is made. All the slaves urinate into big vats and their slave piss is mixed with the indigo, and the vats are heated and stirred. You might say the slaves all had vat-sectomies.


From time to time Chekura, the slave who helped the slavers enslave Meena, comes to visit at night (he works on another plantation). Meena's v_gina became like Niagara falls whenever she saw him: "We held each other longer each time he came to visit. Something stirred deep down in my belly and between my legs".


When Massa Appleby finds out about Chekura's visits, he decides to bone Meena as punishment.  Meena wishes he had lubricated his p_nis so he could slide more easily in and out of her v_gina.  "His breath quickened, he gave out a wild squeal, and he was finished. When he slid out of me, I felt like everything inside me was draining out."


After Massa Appleby left, another slave came by and said, "Here, have some sweetness!" and shoved an orange in her mouth.


Georgia her slave friend gave her a homemade abortion drug which caused Meena to start bleeding from her v_gina.


Then sometime later Chekura got Meena pregnant.  "I brought his hungry lips to mine and took him deep inside my body." Meena called sex with Chekura "jumping the broom". I guess that's a euphemism for riding up and down on his p_nis, heh heh.


Meena notices her breasts were getting larger.

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Characters

Meena (Aminata): Meena is a black muslim girl who lives in a small village in Africa. She gets kidnapped and sent to a Caribbean island to become a slave. She learns to read and write and eventually gets her freedom, but doesn't get nearly enough sex or happiness to keep her satisfied.

 Georgia: a slave who gives Meena smallpox and teaches her how to deliver babies.

 Mamed: a slave who teaches Meena how to write.

 Appleby: Meena's first Massa. He's mean and Meena doesn't enjoy the sex.

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Themes

Jewish people make the best slave masters.  No one wants to be a slave. But if you absolutely have to be a slave to someone, Jewish people make the very best slave masters. They don't beat you, they allow you to shop freely around town and earn money, and they give you good books to read, and later, if they're feeling guilty, they will even free you from slavery, like Lindo did. And you also get bagels, lox, cream cheese, and only the best corned beef.

 Women can tell by their orgasms if they're pregnant. Meena says she knows by the way Chekura's penis slides in and out of her and how he shudders in orgasm that she is pregnant.  There must be some orgasmic vibration she can interpret that tells her she is pregnant. Who needs a home pregnancy test when you're as orgasm-attuned as Meena?

 Being an African Muslim woman is only slightly better than being enslaved. Being a slave is horrible. But being a Muslim woman in Africa is only slightly better. They cut off big parts of your vagina. They sell you to a man who may already have other wives. You become his property and have to do as he says--in effect, you become his slave. It was not good that Meena became a slave, but she was enslaved just before her mother was about to mutilate her vagina with a razor blade.

Blacks enslaved other blacks. The story starts with black people enslaving other blacks. This was quite common in Africa as blacks would go inland to capture other blacks. Without the help of black people, there would have been no slaves in America. Should black people perhaps pay reparations to themselves?

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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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