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 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Alex’s essay series is called “A Brief History of Seven Killings.” Part Three of the series describes a drug addict named Monifah Thibodeaux living in New York. The transcription of the essay is interrupted by Eubie and Ren-Dog commenting on it. Eubie asks why the series is called “A Brief History of Seven Killings” considering that eleven people are killed in Part One alone. Alex has been beaten, stripped, and water-tortured, and is now sitting in his underwear being forced to read his essays aloud. He wets himself, and tells his audience that seven is a “good round number.” Alex keeps reading, and the men object to her describing Monifah as “so ghetto,” asking if she will like reading such an unflattering description of herself. 
There is a comical irony to the fact that Eubie proclaims to be so concerned about the way Monifah is represented, considering he is a member of the gang that caused Monifah (and others like her) to be murdered. The fact that Alex’s essay series is called “A Brief History of Seven Killings” also clearly emphasizes the link between Alex and Marlon James. Perhaps the scene of Alex’s torture evokes James’s own anxieties about publishing the novel.
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon
The men tell Alex to skip to the part where he discusses the crack house. Alex reads the description of the house itself, but the men protest that they are bored, and ask Alex to read about the killings. He obeys, narrating murders committed by Storm Posse, which he describes as “a loose alliance of Jamaican thugs bred on Third World violence and Colombian drug money.” Eubie asks if Alex has sent in Part Four yet, and Alex replies that he has. Eubie tells him: “You going to call them right now and make a whole heap o’ changes.”
Part of what makes this scene so amusing is that it plays on stereotypes about the writer’s ego, which have already been explored through Alex’s character. Alex is certainly a rather self-centered and egotistical writer, hoping to use his journalism to prove himself to the world. The joke of this scene lies in the fact that Alex would likely find any edits to his work painful––yet as it turns out, they are being inflicted with literal pain. 
Themes
Violence vs. Peace Theme Icon
Jamaican Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Politics, Power, and Corruption Theme Icon
Witness and Storytelling Theme Icon