A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings

by

Marlon James

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A Brief History of Seven Killings: Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Papa-Lo says he warned the Singer that some of the Singer’s friends want to take him down, but the Singer just laughed. Papa-Lo boasts that he runs a massive section of the ghetto, although not the Eight Lanes, because that’s People’s National Party (PNP) territory. Papa-Lo supports the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), whose color is green, whereas the color of the PNP-supporting Eight Lanes­­––run by Shotta Sherrif––is orange. Recently, when the Singer was abroad, young men from Jungle, another ghetto, began scheming inside the Singer’s house. The house used to be the only place of neutrality and peace in Kingston, but that is no longer the case.
As Papa-Lo explains here, Kingston is divided into different territories that are strictly defended by those who rule over them. Part of what makes the Singer so unusual is that he is a friend to all different kinds of people in Jamaica––hence why his house was formerly a place of neutrality. However, as this passage indicates, the Singer is perhaps wrong to be so trusting. There may be a fine line between trust and naïveté.  
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Related Quotes
The men who went into the Singer’s house ended up fixing the horse races, but they messed it up and had to ask the Singer for money. When he refused to pay, they drew guns on him, although the Singer managed to talk them into putting them away. The Singer told Papa-Lo about this while they were planning the peace concert. Many people are wary of the concert, claiming that it will strengthen suspicions that the Singer supports the PNP. Papa-Lo is getting older, and wants to reach an old age for his children and grandchildren. He recently noticed that he’s never seen old people in the ghetto. Papa-Lo insists that he would take a bullet for the Singer, but that this may not be enough to protect him. 
In many ways, the Singer is a symbol of peace in a landscape of pervasive violence. This is demonstrated by his ability to talk the men from Jungle out of shooting him, rather than responding with violence himself. The Singer is able to exist with this policy of nonviolence because people have such immense love and respect for him. However, as Papa-Lo suggests, there may be a limit to this love and respect and the protection it affords the Singer.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon