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 5, Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Millicent is on her way home, fantasizing about making ramen noodles and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. She wonders if she should up her Xanax prescription. She remembers she doesn’t have any food at home and walks into Boston Jamaica Jerk Chicken. Suddenly, in her mind, Millicent switches to patois. The man behind the counter sees her looking at the cricket game on TV and tells her it is West Indies vs. India. Millicent orders an enormous amount of food and finds it delicious.
Millicent finally seems to be allowing herself to let go of her layers of pretense and return to some version of her true identity. Part of this is giving into her own desire, even if that desire is as simple as eating Jamaican food.
Themes
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Suddenly a news item comes on the TV screen with the headline: “JOSEY WALES FOUND BURNED TO DEATH IN PRISON CELL.” There is an image of Josey’s burnt body, which looks like it has “melted.” The man behind the counter turns up the volume. A person being interviewed says it took place on the same day as Benjy’s funeral, and that Copenhagen City is now “burning down.” Millicent runs out of the restaurant and vomits onto the sidewalk. Back at home, she watches TV for hours, in a daze. With shaking hands, she picks up the phone and makes a call. A woman on the other end says “Hello?” and Millicent says: “Kimmy?”
The novel ends on a decidedly ambiguous note, refusing to assert whether anything will really change or whether things will continue as normal. Josey Wales is dead, but Eubie––and surely some equivalent don in Jamaica––has risen to take his place. On the other hand, Millicent/Nina/Dorcas’s decision to call her sister represents a real change, even if it takes place only on a minor, personal scale. There is a small glimmer of hope in this moment, confined as it might be to Millicent’s living room.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon