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 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Nina is at the gate of the Singer’s house, where she is told by a security guard that nobody can come in except family members and the band. However, Nina sees that other people are able to ignore the guard and walk right in. Security at the house has been tight ever since the announcement of the Smile Jamaica concert. Recently three gunmen broke into Nina’s parents’ house. A city-wide curfew is in effect, even for “decent uptown people” like Nina’s family. The gunmen stole the family’s possessions, beat Nina’s father, and possibly raped Nina’s mother. The family called the police immediately, but they didn’t show up until the morning.
Tension and violence may be a pervasive part of life in Kingston, but they are also building to a particular intensity at the time in which the book is set. Although Nina’s family are relatively affluent, “decent” people, they are not sheltered from the violence and chaos that exists in the rest of the city. Indeed, given the connection between violence and poverty, it is possible that Nina’s family’s privilege makes them more likely to be targets of resentment. 
Themes
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 to visit their parents since the incident. Nina recalls her relationship with a blond American named Danny, who came to Jamaica to conduct research for his agricultural science degree. Nina is very light-skinned, but still feels uneasy being in large groups of white people. Danny brought her to a party where she met the Singer. After she and Danny broke up, she slept with the Singer, and claims that his song “Midnight Ravers” was written about her. Nina is desperate to move to Miami. She crosses the road to the bus stop outside the Singer’s house, and has an urge to shout to him, saying she needs his help.
Just as Bam-Bam dreams of getting out of the ghetto, Nina is desperate to leave Jamaica altogether. In both cases, this desire to leave appears to be something of a pipe dream rather than a serious possibility. Indeed, Nina’s claim that the Singer’s song “Midnight Ravers” was written about her is indicative of her tendency for self-delusion. Although it is of course possible that the song really was written about her, she is only one of countless women who have had a one-night stand with the Singer. 
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Masculinity, Sexuality, and Homophobia Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
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