Born a Crime

by

Trevor Noah

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Born a Crime can help.

Trevor’s Mother / Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah Character Analysis

Trevor’s devout, fearless, and independent mother. The unwanted middle child of Temperance and Frances Noah, she moves from Soweto to the Xhosa homeland in her teenage years, where she works on the family farm and starves. She then decides to train as a secretary even though black women are excluded from secretary jobs during apartheid. When she manages to get work, she secretly moves to a downtown white neighborhood of Johannesburg, where a white man named Robert rents her a room. She convinces Robert to have a child with her (Trevor) and then manages to hide him his entire childhood by keeping him inside or pretending that she is his family maid so that they can be seen together in public. She is dedicated to showing Trevor the possibilities that seem out of reach for someone of their family’s class status, not to mention race, in South Africa—she does this by encouraging to read voraciously, teaching him English as a first language, and taking him on trips. However, she is also a devoted proponent of “tough love,” beating Trevor to teach him lessons about the world’s ruthlessness toward men of color. She is a staunch believer in prayer and takes Trevor to three different churches every Sunday in their secondhand Volkswagen Beetle. During Trevor’s childhood, she manages to move to the colored suburb of Eden Park and then, after briefly living in her husband Abel’s garage in an ill-fated attempt to save his auto repair business, to the white suburb of Highlands North, where they are the only black people besides the white families’ maids. Her relationship with Abel is tumultuous: she insists on her independence, which infuriates him, and his abusiveness worsens over time until she leaves him and he attempts to murder her. Trevor dedicates Born a Crime to his mother, his “teammate” in life, because she has served as the foundation for all his accomplishments, not only by teaching him to think for himself and dream of the kinds of success usually reserved for whites during apartheid, but also by modeling that attitude and success when the odds were stacked against her.

Trevor’s Mother / Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah Quotes in Born a Crime

The Born a Crime quotes below are all either spoken by Trevor’s Mother / Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah or refer to Trevor’s Mother / Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Born a Crime published in 2016.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The white man was quite stern with the native. “You need to pray to Jesus,” he said. “Jesus will save you.” To which the native replied, “Well, we do need to be saved—saved from you, but that's beside the point. So let’s give this Jesus thing a shot.”

Page Number: 5-6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

In any society built on institutionalized racism, race-mixing doesn't merely challenge the system as unjust, it reveals the system as unsustainable and incoherent. Race-mixing proves that races can mix—and in a lot of cases, want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race-mixing becomes a crime worse than treason.

Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

As a kid I understood that people were different colors, but in my head white and black and brown were like types of chocolate. Dad was the white chocolate, mom was the dark chocolate, and I was the milk chocolate. But we were all just chocolate. I didn't know any of it had anything to do with “race.” I didn't know what race was. My mother never referred to my dad as white or to me as mixed. So when the other kids in Soweto called me “white,” even though I was light brown, I just thought they had their colors mixed up, like they hadn't learned them properly. “Ah, yes, my friend. You've confused aqua with turquoise. I can see how you made that mistake. You're not the first.”

Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

So many black families spend all of their time trying to fix the problems of the past. That is the curse of being black and poor, and it is a curse that follows you from generation to generation. My mother calls it “the black tax.” Because the generations who came before you have been pillaged, rather than being free to use your skills and education to move forward, you lose everything just trying to bring everyone behind you back up to zero. Working for the family in Soweto, my mom had no more freedom than she'd had in Transkei, so she ran away. She ran all the way down to the train station and jumped on a train and disappeared into the city, determined to sleep in public restrooms and rely on the kindness of prostitutes until she could make her own way in the world.

Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

When it was time to pick my name, she chose Trevor, a name with no meaning whatsoever in South Africa, no precedent in my family. It's not even a Biblical name. It's just a name. My mother wanted her child beholden to no fate. She wanted me to be free to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone.

Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

My mom raised me as if there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do. When I look back I realize she raised me like a white kid—not white culturally, but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that I should speak up for myself, that my ideas and thoughts and decisions mattered.

Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother: her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don't hold on to the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass-kicking your mom gave you, or the ass-kicking that life gave you, you'll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It's better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You'll have a few bruises and they'll remind you of what happened and that's okay. But after a while the bruises fade, and they fade for a reason—because now it's time to get up to some shit again.

Page Number: 90-91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Fufi was my first heartbreak. No one has ever betrayed me more than Fufi. It was a valuable lesson to me. The hard thing was understanding that Fufi wasn’t cheating on me with another boy. She was merely living her life to the fullest. Until I knew that she was going out on her own during the day, her other relationship hadn't affected me at all. Fufi had no malicious intent.

I believed that Fufi was my dog but of course that wasn't true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I've felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love.

Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

“I know you see me as some crazy old bitch nagging at you,” she said, “but you forget the reason I ride you so hard and give you so much shit is because I love you. Everything I have ever done I've done from a place of love. If I don't punish you, the world will punish you even worse. The world doesn't love you. If the police get you, the police don't love you. When I beat you, I'm trying to save you. When they beat you, they're trying to kill you.”

Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

I grew up in a world of violence, but I myself was never violent at all. Yes, I played pranks and set fires and broke windows, but I never attacked people. I never hit anyone. I was never angry. I just didn't see myself that way. My mother had exposed me to a different world than the one she grew up in. She bought me the books she never got to read. She took me to the schools that she never got to go to. I immersed myself in those worlds and I came back looking at the world a different way. I saw that not all families are violent. I saw the futility of violence, the cycle that just repeats itself, the damage that's inflicted on people that they in turn inflict on others.

I saw, more than anything, that relationships are not sustained by violence but by love. Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them. My mother did that for me, and with the progress I made and the things I learned, I came back and created a new world and a new understanding for her. After that, she never raised her hand to her children again. Unfortunately, by the time she stopped, Abel had started.

Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

When he said that, my body just let go. I remember the exact traffic light I was at. For a moment there was a complete vacuum of sound, and then I cried tears like I had never cried before. I collapsed in heaving sobs and moans. I cried as if every other thing I’d cried for in my life had been a waste of crying. I cried so hard that if my present crying self could go back in time and see my other crying selves, it would slap them and say, “That shit's not worth crying for.” My cry was not a cry of sadness. It was not catharsis. It wasn't me feeling sorry for myself. It was an expression of raw pain that came from an inability of my body to express that pain in any other way, shape, or form. She was my mom. She was my teammate. It had always been me and her together, me and her against the world. When Andrew said, “shot her in the head,” I broke in two.

Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:

“My child, you must look on the bright side.”

What? What are you talking about, ‘the bright side’? Mom, you were shot in the face. There is no bright side.”

“Of course there is. Now you're officially the best-looking person in the family.”

She broke out in a huge smile and started laughing. Through my tears, I started laughing, too.

Related Characters: Trevor Noah (speaker), Trevor’s Mother / Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah (speaker)
Page Number: 281-282
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Born a Crime LitChart as a printable PDF.
Born a Crime PDF

Trevor’s Mother / Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah Character Timeline in Born a Crime

The timeline below shows where the character Trevor’s Mother / Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah appears in Born a Crime. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...car hurts more than it seems to in Hollywood movies: when he is nine, his mother throws him out of a car on the way home from church on Sunday. She... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...analyzing scriptures, and is where Noah studies biblical stories in Sunday school. At home, Noah’s mother never allows him to consume popular songs or movies—only religious music and the Bible—so Noah... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...day). This particular Sunday, as often happened, the family’s secondhand Volkswagen Beetle won’t start. Noah’s mother decides they will take minibuses instead and blames the devil for the car’s failure to... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...champion of his Catholic school’s sports day because he always has to run from his mother, who has a habit of chasing him, in addition to throwing things at him (and... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...violence is nearby, in the area surrounding the neighborhood where Noah grows up. But his mother never lets it dissuade them from going to work or school, and she is never... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
...no more minibuses coming by (these buses are an informal, private, unreliable system). So Noah’s mother decides to hitchhike. Just as a car pulls over to pick them up, so does... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Soon, the angry minibus driver and Noah’s mother get into an argument—she is a Xhosa woman with a mixed race child, who was... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
When they stop running, they realize that they are cut and bleeding. Patricia explains to Trevor that the men were going to kill them; they call the police... (full context)
Chapter 2
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
The chapter begins. Noah’s family is mixed: his mother is a black Xhosa woman, and his father is a Swiss/German man. Race-mixing is “one... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Patricia is also too fearless to settle for the jobs black women usually hold, so she... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Patricia quickly joins the cosmopolitan, artsy, dissident, and secretly integrated social scene in her new neighborhood... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
The doctors are confused, but Patricia just says Trevor’s father is from Swaziland—this is enough to fill out the birth certificate,... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
On holidays, Patricia also brings Trevor to visit her family in Soweto, which is literally “designed to be... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...a mixed family. Noah is astonished to realize that leaving was ever an option, but Patricia insists that it would make no sense: “This is my country. Why should I leave?” (full context)
Chapter 3
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...the age of 80, with 12-year-old Trevor. Since she and Trevor are her father’s heirs, Patricia always worries about his other family members trying to poison them. (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...house,” which she could hear and smell before. Frances can smell it too—and when Trevor’s mother gets home, so can she. She discovers the “shit in the bottom of the dustbin”... (full context)
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Patricia makes Trevor pray to “kill the demon,” but he knows he cannot pray for “God... (full context)
Chapter 4
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
The chapter begins. Trevor accidentally breaks his cousin’s eardrum while playing surgeon; his grandmother beats everyone but him, claiming, “I don’t know how to hit a white child.” She... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
To “bridge the race gap,” Trevor learns languages. His mother makes sure he learns English, which is the best way to get “a leg up”... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
...of apartheid, private South African schools open their doors to “children of all colors,” and Patricia manages to get Trevor a scholarship to go to Maryvale College, an elite Catholic school.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Noah explains that he is “a product of [his mother’s] search for belonging.” Her parents are forced to move to Soweto and divorce soon after... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
As the middle child and “second girl,” Patricia is unwanted, and she ends up living in a hut with 14 other unwanted children... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
When Patricia is 21, her aunt gets sick, so she has to return to Soweto. This is... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Patricia tells this story in occasional vignettes—never all at once—and only so Trevor wouldn’t “take for... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Most Xhosa names become self-fulfilling prophecies; Patricia’s, “Nombuyiselo,” means “She Who Gives Back,” and is fitting: even as a child, she would... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Patricia also makes sure Trevor speaks English as his first language and gives him as many... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...off the books or otherwise losing their force. A few months before its ultimate collapse, Patricia and Trevor move to Eden Park, a colored neighborhood with real, suburban houses, surrounded by... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...with experience.” They visit white neighborhoods and other “places black people never went.” In essence, Patricia raises Trevor “like a white kid […] in the sense of believing that the world... (full context)
Chapter 6
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...and needs “constant stimulation and activity”; he frustrates nannies and teachers, despite his “good manners.” Patricia takes to playing fetch with him, like a dog. He plays pranks at school and... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Patricia has some useful tactics for getting Trevor to fall in line. One day, he wants... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...other kids Trevor knows, “ass-whooping” is still the standard punishment for anything major. Unfortunately for Patricia, Trevor is incredibly fast, but she still hits him “on the fly” when she can... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...“to shape up”—and Trevor simply says that he does not want to be there. His mother does not mind—she has since left her job and lost his scholarship, and she generally... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Patricia starts dating Abel when Trevor is about six years old. Abel is renting out a... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Patricia is too shocked to discipline Trevor, and he gets a “notorious” reputation in his family.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Patricia brings home two black cats a month after she and Trevor move to Eden Park.... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...keep dogs not as “members of the family” but more as “a poor-man’s alarm system.” Patricia and Trevor’s dogs are two sisters, Maltese-bull terrier mixes, named Fufi and Panther. They have... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...manages to jump the yard’s five-foot wall, which she does every morning after Trevor and Patricia leave the house. Home during school vacation one day, Trevor realizes this and follows Fufi... (full context)
Chapter 8
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...preface, Trevor Noah recounts the following story: one day, at the age of 24, Trevor’s mother tells him to find his father. It has been more than ten years; Trevor assumes... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...with his father, who moves away to Cape Town by the time Trevor is 13. Patricia has since married Abel, who turns out to be a controlling alcoholic and does not... (full context)
Chapter 9
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
...begins with a “giant mulberry tree growing out of someone’s front yard” on Trevor and Patricia’s street in Eden Park. The neighborhood’s other children pick its berries and play together under... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...tree one day while yelling, “Bushie! Bushman!” Trevor runs home in tears and tells his mother, who breaks out into laughter—“out of relief,” she promises, because she is relieved to realize... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Abel comes over soon thereafter—he has not been violent with Trevor or his mother yet, but Trevor is already aware of his temper. Patricia urges Trevor not to tell... (full context)
Chapter 10
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
In the chapter’s preface, Trevor Noah recalls his mother “trying to teach me about women,” a little bit at a time, whenever she can... (full context)
Chapter 11
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
In the brief preface Trevor explains that his mother is an expert at conserving gas: she turns the car off at every stoplight, coasts... (full context)
Chapter 12
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...ugly high schooler, with horrible acne, no money for a haircut, and, thanks to his mother, clothes three sizes too big that he never grows into. He quickly learns that “cool... (full context)
Chapter 13
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Teddy’s parents visit Patricia and explain that he has been arrested for shoplifting—Patricia insists Trevor must have been involved,... (full context)
Chapter 14
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
...has “a mini-empire” by the end of high school: using the computer he convinces his mother to buy him “for school,” he pirates CDs to sell at school. He also looks... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...new clothes, especially since Babiki is so fashion-obsessed; he has terrible taste but convinces his mom to pay for a new outfit. He enlists Sizwe, his other CD reseller, to give... (full context)
Chapter 16
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
After high school, Trevor moves out of the house with his mother’s encouragement because Abel is too “toxic.” Trevor needs to make money to afford university tuition,... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
...asks questions. A stolen car radio? Sure, because “white people have insurance.” Even Trevor’s devout mother once bought a bunch of burger patties, which were definitely stolen, from “some guy at... (full context)
Chapter 17
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
In the short preface, Trevor recalls shoplifting batteries as a ten-year-old, and his mother telling the security guard to take him to jail so he can “learn the consequences.”... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Trevor’s mother is ruthless—like many black parents, she tries “to discipline [him] before the system does.” Getting... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...pulling people over; they just do because they can. He is more afraid of his mother than the law, but the officer realizes that the car is not Trevor’s and does... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Trevor spends a night at Mlungisi’s place and then returns home, where his mother is silent. He tells her all sorts of stories about spending a week hanging out... (full context)
Chapter 18
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...him, and he wakes up bloated from the dessert and itchy from the jelly. His mother tells him it’s time to go to church, and that Jesus would make him feel... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...salon every week to make sure his cornrows stay in perfect condition. On Sundays, his mom gets dressed up for church and teases him for his own vanity. She is beautiful... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Patricia probably “broke more than a few hearts in her day,” but Trevor only ever knew... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
When Trevor’s mother announces that she is planning to marry Abel, Trevor immediately says it is a bad... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...way. He forces the dogs to start living in the yard and refuses to fix Patricia’s car, so that he becomes the family’s only means of transportation and so that Patricia... (full context)
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Patricia makes Abel stop smoking weed when they get married, and he starts drinking instead, usually... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
However, the police tell Patricia to calm down and think over it before flat-out refusing to charge Abel, who soon... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Abel is an excellent mechanic, and Patricia sincerely wants him to succeed. They buy the company Abel works for, realize it is... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
...any profits he made instead of paying off his debts, which just get increasingly worse. Patricia quits her job to run the business, which starts going better, but Abel begins resenting... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Unlike with Trevor, Patricia stops physically disciplining Andrew relatively early on. She learns this lesson from Trevor, who is... (full context)
Identity, Belonging, and Community Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Just as Patricia stops physically disciplining the children, Abel starts hitting them instead. This first happens to Trevor... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
After the business fails, Patricia legally divorces Abel in order to save her credit, but they stay together. Abel continues... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
One day after school, Trevor’s mom tells him that Abel has bought a gun because “he thinks he’s the policeman of... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...but one day when he does, there are police cars out front. Abel has hit Patricia with a bicycle—but the cops are friends of his, and again they let him off.... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
Trevor is confused and frustrated that his mother doesn’t “just leave,” but he remarks that at this time he has not even had... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Patricia eventually does leave, although Trevor is already deep into his career, living with Mlungisi, and... (full context)
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Inside, Patricia is covered in blood on a gurney with a giant hole through her face. Miraculously,... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...that Andrew must have dealt with a far deeper pain, since his father shot his mother, and he has to reconcile this with his love for them both. Isaac is crying... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
A nurse comes out and reveals that Trevor’s mother does not have health insurance, which means they have to send her back out to... (full context)
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
...he hates the word “miracle,” it is the only way to describe what happened to Patricia. The bullet that went through her head managed to miss her brain, eye socket, and... (full context)
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
The next morning, Trevor visits Patricia, who seems “frail and weak.” He wonders why he did not kill Abel himself years... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Love and Personal Growth Theme Icon
...Noah explains that the family later manages to “piece the whole story together.” After shooting Patricia, Abel takes his frightened four-year-old son Isaac to a family friend’s house. On the way,... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
...and is “walking around Johannesburg today, completely free,” still living in the same neighborhood near Patricia. (full context)
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
And then there is Patricia’s side of the story. When she is on the ground and Abel is pointing the... (full context)
Racism, Apartheid, and the Cycle of Poverty Theme Icon
Resilience Through Religion, Education, and Humor Theme Icon
The hospital bill is 50,000 rand, but Trevor still tells his mother he “can’t believe you didn’t have health insurance.” She insists that she has God, and... (full context)