A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings

by

Marlon James

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Ken Colhirst Character Analysis

Ken Colhirst is a wealthy and handsome older white man who lives in Manhattan. He suffers from amnesia, and his son employs Dorcas Palmer to take care of him. He and Dorcas get along well, as Dorcas is entertained by his fun-loving manner and rude sense of humor. However, shortly after he forgets who Dorcas is and, panicked, locks himself in her bathroom.
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Ken Colhirst Character Timeline in A Brief History of Seven Killings

The timeline below shows where the character Ken Colhirst appears in A Brief History of Seven Killings. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 4, Chapter 7
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
...Dorcas replies that it is actually a de Kooning. He tells her to call him Ken, although Dorcas insists on calling him “Mr. Ken.” He tells Dorcas about a previous maid... (full context)
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Ken’s daughter-in-law, Ms. Colthirst, enters, and tells Dorcas where to find the cleaning supplies. Dorcas tries... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 11
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Back in the present, Dorcas asks Ken which disease he has: diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s. He doesn’t tell her and goes to... (full context)
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Dorcas observes that his disease must be giving him a “death wish.” Ken says that maybe he just wants “some fucking jerk pork and yam, and rum punch,”... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 15
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Dorcas and Ken are in Dorcas’s apartment. She wonders if she should offer Ken a drink, but worries... (full context)
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Dorcas makes them from ramen noodles, and Ken asks where she’s from. She replies that she’s from a Kingston suburb called Havendale. Ken... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 19
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Ken furiously questions Dorcas about the book. Dorcas tells him to calm down and reminds him... (full context)
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Ken asks if Dorcas is an American citizen, and she replies that she isn’t. She has... (full context)
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Dorcas tells Ken that he should go home soon. He goes to the bathroom, and Dorcas finds a... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 23
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Ken has been in the bathroom for about an hour. Dorcas is still trying to figure... (full context)
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
...is Ms. Colthirst, who barges in rudely. Mr. Colthirst comes up behind her and apologizes. Ken barks at Ms. Colthirst, telling her to go away, and she replies that this has... (full context)
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Mr. Colthirst clarifies that Ken has amnesia and can’t remember anything past April 1980. He adds that the previous woman... (full context)