In Zong M. NourbeSe Philip repeats a line “This is a story that can only be told by not telling.”(191). How is a story told without telling? Philip uses different techniques to tell this without actually telling it. Philip humanizes her writing “I mutilate the text…I murder the text.”(194) She is saying this because it was how the African people had been treated on the ship during the slave trade.
The fact that these people were objectified and had been listed as cargo was demoralizing. These were human beings that were put on a ship and became an object of trade. Many of the slaves on the ship were not accounted for and were categorized as if they were produce, the slaves had names that will never be remembered because they were considered objects. Philip states “They would be paid for murdering 150 Africans… Neither captain Collingwood nor those who had helped in the massacre could be charged with murder, since what was destroyed, being property, was not capable of being murdered.”(191). They had the ability to kill people without any consequences, basically killing innocent people for money. The way people were turned into objects showed how little they cared about these human beings just because the color of their skin and where they from.
The way this book is written is quite confusing, in Zong 1 the writing starts with the repeating of water and one day. Is it someone asking for water or is it describing the sea surrounding the ship? Many of the African people on the ship had died from thirst and starvation or other natural causes, but mostly they were killed for insurance money.
- What could the names at the bottom of the pages mean?
- Does Philip’s technique of writing have a different effect when reading? Why or why not.