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 3, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
According to Barry, “chaos and disorder” are erupting all over the world. He thinks about Lindon Wolfsbricker, the American ambassador to Yugoslavia, who recently threatened to take the CIA “out of business” in Yugoslavia until an order was lifted that mandates CIA business be kept secret from ambassadors. Strangely, Jamaica is now the only place in the world “not going to shit.” Barry and his family are moving to Argentina next week, and his wife Claire is thrilled. Barry’s feelings are mixed; he is looking forward to being in Argentina but reluctantly admits he has fallen in love with Jamaica.
Again Jamaica is shown to wield a special, seductive power over white American men in particular. Jamaica may be violent and chaotic, but there is evidently something about this that Barry finds appealing. Meanwhile, the depth of secrecy that characterizes the actions of the CIA is further emphasized in this passage by the fact that CIA business is even kept secret from American ambassadors.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Louis Johnson is on a mission to end apartheid in South Africa. Barry admits that “communism is more socially progressive than us,” and then berates himself for sounding like he is turning liberal. After the events of 1976, Louis was sent back to Central America. Barry believes that Nixon “fucked up the CIA” and also tried to ruin the FBI, but that now, in 1979, it doesn’t even matter. He mentions Roger Theroux, a highly competent CIA agent who was kidnapped and sentenced to death in Iran. Roger demanded to see a Mullah and pointed out that his sentencing violated the Qur’an. The Iranian government let him go. 
This passage serves as a reminder that although Barry has conveyed his thoughts on Jamaica, the Cold War in general, Louis Johnson, Doctor Love, and Bill Adler, we know very little about his personal political views. Obviously he doesn’t want think of himself as a “liberal,” but he does not clarify how he does politically identify. Indeed, his only loyalty seems to be to the CIA.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Doctor Love is back in Jamaica; Barry presumes he is likely trying to “finish what he couldn’t in 1976.” Bill Adler has finally been fired from the CIA. He and Barry speak on the phone, and Barry says he knows Bill has been talking to a reporter called Edgar Anatolyevich Cheporov, who Barry claims is a KGB agent. Bill denies this. Barry tells Bill he is clueless, that his coffeemaker is broken and that the view from his apartment “sucks.” Bill hangs up. Back in Jamaica, Barry sits at his office and thinks: “Fuck this country. Fuck this year already.”
Doctor Love’s return to Jamaica indicates that there is about to be a repeat of the violence surrounding the last election year, 1976, as the upcoming election approaches. Barry’s sudden willingness to get out of Jamaica suggests that he knows that this chaos will return. At the same time, the carelessness with which Barry dismisses Jamaica reflects an overall carelessness in the CIA’s global actions, which often work to destabilize foreign governments and leave only chaos in their wake.
Themes
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon