A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings

by

Marlon James

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Nina is a young woman from Havendale, an affluent neighborhood in Kingston. She is light-skinned and well-educated, yet despite these privileges she feels that she has no future in Jamaica and is desperate to move to the United States. Before the main narrative takes place, Nina has sex with the Singer and hopes to use this as leverage to help her get an American visa, although this does not end up working out. Nina is remarkably single-minded and goes to extreme lengths in order to achieve her goal of moving to America, mostly by using her sexuality. Nina’s desire to move to the U.S. becomes more urgent after she accidentally witnesses the shooting at the Singer’s house and becomes convinced that Josey Wales is going to kill her in retribution. She changes her identity several times, assuming the names Kim Clarke, Dorcas Palmer, and Millicent Segree, and eventually realizes her dream of leaving Jamaica, choosing to move to the Bronx, New York. Nina has a difficult relationship with her parents, who scold her for sleeping with the Singer, and with her sister Kimmy, who tells their parents that Nina did so. However, the novel ends with Nina (now living as Millicent) calling Kimmy on the phone, suggesting that she might be ready to repair their relationship and reconnect with her home country.

Nina Burgess Quotes in A Brief History of Seven Killings

The A Brief History of Seven Killings quotes below are all either spoken by Nina Burgess or refer to Nina Burgess. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of A Brief History of Seven Killings published in 2014.
Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

I hate politics. I hate that just because I live here I'm supposed to live politics. And there's nothing you can do. If you don't live politics, politics will live you.

Related Characters: Nina Burgess (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nina Burgess Character Timeline in A Brief History of Seven Killings

The timeline below shows where the character Nina Burgess appears in A Brief History of Seven Killings. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 4
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Nina is at the gate of the Singer’s house, where she is told by a security... (full context)
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Nina’s father has been unable to speak since the robbery, and her sister Kimmy has failed... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Nina is still waiting across the road from the Singer’s house. She wishes Kimmy would visit... (full context)
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
...the guard won’t let him in. Alex offers the guard money, but he refuses, and Nina laughs. They talk and Nina teases him. Alex says that he’s not “some tourist” and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
It is 11:15 pm, over four hours after curfew, and Nina is still at the bus stop. She feels like she has gone mad, waiting outside... (full context)
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Nina doesn’t want to leave Jamaica because of the crime, but rather because she feels like... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Part Two is set on December 3, 1976. In the police car, Nina is certain that the two police officers are about to rape her. The waiting is... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Josey sees Nina across the road from the Singer’s house and wonders if she is a prostitute, or... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Kimmy calls Nina, a rare occurrence ever since Ras told her to cut ties with those still “trapped... (full context)
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Nina once went with Kimmy to a “twelve tribes” gathering for Rastas, where all the women... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Nina is about to leave for the Singer’s house when her mother calls and says to... (full context)
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Kimmy knows that Nina won’t point out that Kimmy also slept with the Singer, as this would be too... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 16
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
It is evening, and Nina has been walking for hours. She thinks about the visa she is desperate to obtain,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 18
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
...and Funky Chicken almost shoots Bam-Bam by accident. As they leave, Bam-Bam sees a girl (Nina) walking in, not realizing that she is “stepping into hell.” The men drive away but... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 8
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
...come from the ghetto. At that moment, Millicent has a sudden memory of when, as Nina, she witnessed the shooting at the Singer’s house. She recalls the sound of the bullets,... (full context)