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 4, Sir Arthur George Jennings Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jennings addresses the Singer and his ill-fated toe. The Singer is in Jamaica, recording a new song in the studio. Jennings describes Papa-Lo’s death at the hands of the police. The person who killed Jennings pays the Wang Gang to shower two of the Eight Lanes in bullets. In London, a doctor tells the Singer to cut off the toe, but instead the Singer goes to Miami and only has the cancerous section removed. The doctor in Miami says he is cancer-free.
As has already been foreshadowed, the Singer does not take Papa-Lo’s warning about cutting off his cancerous toe. Aside from this change in the Singer’s health, however, little seems to have changed in Jamaica; there is still as much political corruption and violence as ever. 
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Back in Jamaica, a PNP politician called Tony McFerson is killed in Copenhagen City. The Singer, now in New York, is awoken by intense pain in the middle of the night. In Kingston, gunmen attack a party on Gold Street. The Singer goes jogging around Central Park but finds that he can’t move his leg. He falls to the ground and wakes up in a hotel to the sounds and smells of his friends doing drugs, listening to music, and having sex. In Pittsburgh, the Singer collapses, and is sent back to New York for radiation therapy. He travels to Miami and Mexico for more treatment.
Although the Singer is world-famous, wealthy, and widely beloved, this is not enough to save him from the ordinary human threat of illness. Indeed, it is somewhat ironic that. having survived a shooting by the most fearsome gangster in Jamaica, the Singer is felled by something as trivial as cancer of the toe.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
On November 4, 1980, Rita arranges for the Singer to be baptized under the name Berhane Selassie in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Jamaican General election is called for October 30, 1980. The Singer travels to Germany for more medical treatment. The JLP win the election, and the man (Peter Nasser) who murdered Jennings is now in power. On May 11, 1981, the Singer dies in Miami.
More than anyone else in the novel, the Singer has a strong sense of faith and firmly sticks to his principles. However, behind closed doors even he seems to waver, joining the Ethiopian Orthodox Church at the last possible moment.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon