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 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The narrator of this chapter has taken to reading copies of The New Yorker over people’s shoulders on the C train. Today he sees a man reading a copy of Rolling Stone. It’s revealed that the narrator is Alex Pierce, and he recently handed in part four a seven-part series about Jamaica and the Singer to The New Yorker. He also recently purchased a brownstone in Washington Heights. Heading home, he sees four black men sitting on the steps of his house.
It may not be in the form of a book, but Alex has finally achieved his dream of publishing his story about Jamaica. The fact that he is reading over people’s shoulders on the subway, however, suggests that Alex may be as entrenched in his own ego as ever––he remains fixated on what other people think of him.
Themes
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
Alex finds that his front door is open, and hears that the four men are Jamaican. Inside the house he sees a tall black man wearing a wife beater, and another black man wearing a blue silk suit and shiny red shoes. The man in the suit tells the other man, whose name is Ren-Dog, to make Alex a glass of mango juice using his own juice-maker. The man in the suit asks Ren-Dog if he ever heard of Tony Pavarotti. Ren-Dog responds that he has, addressing the man in the suit as Eubie. Eubie introduces Alex as the man who killed Tony in 1979.
It should perhaps not be surprising that Alex is finally facing the consequences of two extraordinarily bold acts. The first was killing Tony Pavarotti; the second, publishing an essay series about the Jamaican gangsters of Kingston and New York. In a world where witnessing is punished, it does not seem likely that Alex will get off lightly for his elaborate exposé.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon