• Reflective Resources

Someone knows my name by Lawrence Hill

This (fictional) work, set in the 18th century tells the story of one woman’s resilience despite her experiences and the cruel treatment she received at the hands of fellow humans. It graphically follows her journey from capture to freedom, both literal and in her mind.


The story emphasizes that language is power. The slave owner may mark the bodies of those he owns, but when the enslaved take possession of words, spoken and written, it allows them to move toward freedom.


Aminata’s skills as a linguist are the key to her survival. Her first job is as an interpreter; and she survives Alessans’s treachery because he does not know that she can understand his language. She is a storyteller with a message. Her ability to adapt and change, to learn reading, writing and map-reading, and even to accommodate new codes of religion all enable her to cope as well as survive because they provide her with an identity that separates her from others.


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