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, Sir Arthur George Jennings Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After Bam-Bam dies, he does not at first realize he’s dead, and walks to the Singer’s house. Jennings explains that people who are just about to die can see the dead. This is why Demus did not at first realize he was dead either. Seven “Rasta avengers” dressed in white drag Demus’ body through the bush. Demus is panicked and confused; he doesn’t understand the meaning of this death march. His thoughts are scattered and nonsensical; he doesn’t want to be dead and wants to kill Josey Wales. Eventually, the Rastas drag Demus to a “fortress wall of Rastamen” wearing weapons and stretching as far as the eye can see. The Rastas carry Demus to a tree and slip a noose over his neck. Jennings wonders if the Singer will hear Demus begging for mercy, but then concludes he won’t, because “the living, they never listen.”
Traditionally the afterlife is often presented as a place of enhanced peace and wisdom, but in the world of the novel this is not the case. In the “Seven Killings” version of the afterlife, dead people are just as troubled, violent, and vengeful as the living—perhaps even more so. Jennings does suggest that the dead have wisdom they want to impart to the living, but part of what is so frustrating about death is that “the living, they never listen.” Only those who are about to die can see the dead, and by this time it is of course too late.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon