Adnan Syed: Guilty or Innocent?

Deciding the guilt or innocence of one’s actions may sound easy, but it’s not. Making the decision takes much investigating that could take months to solve.  The issue about investigations is that it puts much stress on the victim and their family and also the offender and their family. The offender could be innocent and have to deal with media bashing against them during the time of the investigation and after. The victim or their family may have to deal with the pressure of the offender being on the loose or media bashing as well if the offender is found innocent, depending on the case.

The first episode of the Serial podcast didn’t explain enough about the investigation of

Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee
Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed, 1999.

the case. I am aware that more episodes of the Serial podcast exist, which would give me a better conclusion about Adnan Syed’s guilt or innocence. Adnan is serving a life sentence for the last 15 years do to the murder of high school student, Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan in 1999.


Majority of the statements in the first episode of the Serial podcast were given from Adnan’s friend, Jay. He testifies that Adnan killed Hae during the day, showed him the body, and they both buried her together. I don’t believe one person’s statement concludes that it’s true and Adnan is guilty. Adnan and Jay could have had some differences about something that could have led up to Jay lying about Adnan’s actions. Throughout the podcast, Jay seems to recap the day of Hae’s murder clear as day, although it happened one month prior to finding the body. The way Jay recaps what happened that day almost seems as if he had planned out the cover up. I believe Adnan responded in a reasonable way saying that he didn’t recall what had happened prior to the murder. Who would remember what you did one month ago, down to the hour? Maybe someone who is lying.

After listening to the 12th episode of the Serial podcast, Jay’s actions after Hae’s body was found seemed as if he was afraid of what he had done.  Jay seems as if he wanted to clear his name as quick as possible to distract the police from the investigation being around him. The testimony from Josh, Jay’s co-worker, seems more reliable than Chris’s testimony, one of Jay’s friends.  The likelihood of a story that is told by a co-worker who isn’t very close being true, is more reliable than a story from the a possible offenders best friend.

The overall case is difficult to follow because the stories aren’t organized. There are many stories and lies where things don’t add up. Jay’s actions, feelings, and testimonies seem very suspicious towards the murder of Hae Min Lee. The investigation is very confusing because if they had spent 15 years trying to figure out whether Adnan is guilty or innocent, why wouldn’t they test the DNA to begin with?  There doesn’t seem like enough big evidence towards Adnan’s guilt and the podcast revolves a lot around Jay and what he was doing that night and after the body was found. What I don’t understand about this podcast is why they force a 17 year old to a life sentence without enough evidence to say he is guilty? In my opinion, I believe Adnan Syed is innocent of the murder of Hae Min Lee.


The Serial Podcast

 Episode 1 of the Serial podcast by Sarah Koenig

The Serial Podcast.

was very interesting. Not only was the story interesting but, the idea of journalizing an investigation in the form of a podcast is what drew me into the story. This podcast is very similar to the murder investigation shows that we see on TV, only, without the visual picture in front of us.


The podcast allowed me to visualize the story my way, in the sense of what the characters look like based on their voice and the type of person their described. During the podcast, Adnan Syed describes exactly how he murdered his girlfriend and during that point in the podcast I could imagine him and his friend in an empty surrounding, burying that poor girls body not very deep into the ground with not a care in the world. I can see Syed as being an aggressive, harsh person that many people may be afraid of.

As I watch the investigation shows on TV, I realize that listening to the podcast is very similar. In the shows, they don’t show the actual footage of what had happen. They tell the story the way the story was told to them and

Investigation Discovery Channel.

they create their own image of the real story. This is what I do when listening to a podcast, I create my own story as it is being told to me.


As I put myself in the shoes of the victims family, I would feel uncomfortable or disgusted with the popularity of the Serial series because it is a sensitive topic that is not something that would want to be brought up. At the same time, it could be a sense of relief that the community has not given up on the case by making it known to others. For the Syed family and friends, they may feel angry or targeted about the series if Adnan is found guilty.

As reading gives the option to visualize the story as well, I believe the podcast helps me stay focused. As I read books, I tend to get distracted very easily and get tired or bored of the book. I lose track in the book and end up reading the same part I already read. I also read the book in the same voice with the same tone, which can make it harder for me to understand what is going on and who is saying what. With a podcast, all I have to is listen. With this episode specifically, it uses different voices rather than the story being narrated in one voice. Though, reading can help me analysis the text by the tone the author is inferring through text.

Remembering events that happened a week ago can be difficult if the day wasn’t very important or interesting. If you do the same thing every day, and one day you do something different than the other days, you may mostly likely remember what you did. I believe the innocence of Adnan Syed is debatable because if someone were to kill another person, you would remember exactly what you did that day since that is an unforgettable moment. Adnan guessed what he “probably” did that day but some things that occurred that day, he seemed to remember clearly. He remembers what he did at school, but didn’t remember anything that happen after school. He may remember what he did at school because he does the same thing every day. You may not know what you did after school because it could be different. No one keeps track of what they did on each day, down to hour by hour. Syed gave a reasonable response to what he had did that day because we don’t remember unless something happen that is unforgettable. With this being said, Syed could also being lying along with other witnesses.

Works Cited

Koenig, Sarah. “Serial: The Alibi.” Thames Valley DSB. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.

Feminine Analysis On The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

The feminist theory views situations in a feminine perspective that is overlooked by the dominant male perspective. In The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, the story of Aminata Diallo is told by Aminata herself. Although the author is male, he

Men and Woman Equality

decided to create the book with a female as the inspirational character of the story instead of a male. I believe the point of this is to acknowledge the readers on how important females were during this time and the horrific situations they encountered. The stories of the men are always told, but the women are not as recognized.

The aspect of the story revolves around discrimination between white and black people. Aminata journeys as a child experiencing slavery; a woman struggling for survival, and her rights to motherhood, and a woman working to raise awareness regarding the conditions of slavery. Aminata’s character is very strong while she encounters male forces who constantly beat her down. In her journey, Aminata lives and works on a plantation where she is owned by Mr. Appleby, along with many other slave women. Mr. Appleby forces them to do anything and everything he asks for, The women in the plantation have it harder than the men, as Aminata is raped at the age of 12 years old. Many of the other slave women were raped as well. There was nothing the women could do about it although they were frightened for their lives. Aminata felt like her dignity had been taken away from her by a bunch of men. When Aminata was raped by Mr. Appleby, she explains, “He owned my labour, but now he was bursting to own all of me. Still I couldn’t move, trapped in my own pain and shame” (Hill, 161). Appleby proceeds to call Aminata an “African whore” after he forcefully raped her. Aminata did not ask or comply to Mr. Appleby’s actions, though he still judged her just because she is a female. Later in the story, Aminata becomes impregnated by her husband Chekura when he escaped from his plantation for a night or two. Once Mr. Appleby found out, he was angry and humiliated her in front of the whole plantation by shaving all her hair off and burning all of her clothes so she was not wanted by any other men. Aminata has always felt humiliated by having her naked body exposed ever since she had first been captured and forced to strip all her clothes off. She would continuously ask Chekura to find her a cloth to cover up with (Hill, 39). The women have always been treated as sex objects and forced to expose their bodies to many toubabs and slave owners.

As every slave struggles to survive, women struggled more than the men. Ones who have children or were impregnated on the journey by the slave owners, must be able to keep themselves alive, along with their children. They were forced to work just as hard no matter the circumstances. When Aminata first met Chekura, she had to ask him to find a woman from a near-by village to get her materials for her “first bleeding” (Hill, 39). Woman need necessities for natural body occurrence that men don’t need and they are not provided for them by the male captives.

Aminata was impregnated by Chekura by choice, though, her baby was sold by Master Appleby because he believed that the new responsibility Aminata would have to take care of her baby would effect he ability to work as hard as she did before. Aminata is valued by everyone, including the slave owners, because of her talent to read, write, and speak several different languages, along with her ability to “catch babies”. If many owners admire her abilities and want to own her, shouldn’t they give her better things in return to make it easier for her to deliver her skills to them? Throughout the book Aminata takes this in advantage by forcing things from the owners and if not provided, she would not do the work.

The feminist perspective is the key perspective of the book as it highlights the feminism movement. Aminata becomes known as a hero towards the other slaves, men and women, once she began to work as a bookkeeper for The Book of Negroes, which is a ledger and record of any slave they come across. Jason tells Aminata that all of the slaves she wrote in the book in Manhattan, all loved her because she took care of them (Hill, 344). Aminata didn’t know that her skills and talents had made such as huge impact on the other slaves. In that time, females were not known to keep the records and ledgers of the slaves, especially not black women. Slave women were expected to clean, cook, and do other household work. They’re viewed as not being as intelligent as men to be able to read or write.

Aminata Diallo has inspired many people during her journey as she proves her intelligence as a black woman during this time period. She makes the slave women proud to have her to represent them and makes many white men view black women differently.

Works Cited

Hill, Lawrence. The Book of Negroes. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015. Print.                     

Applying Archetypal Literary Theory to The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

NatureThe Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, can have different archetypal literary theories depending on how you, as a reader, view the concept of the book. The second third of the book did not end up being what I believed it would. As I continuously read the first part of the book, I’ve always seen Aminata being such a quiet, innocent girl. I believe the journey across the ocean had really changed Aminata and made her realize that she must survive on her own by expanding her knowledge.

Aminata’s character fits right in with the hero archetype. As she has always obeyed the rules and beliefs of her culture, she considered her life perfect and unchangeable before he parents were killed and she was taken. Once Aminata met the toubabs and Master Appleby, she is forced to choose between obeying her culture or being killed for disobeying the rules of the masters that own her. At this point of the book is where I consider Aminata is struggling to keep herself in tact.

Throughout the book, the author continuously uses the term ‘moon’ in the context of years. This is understandable as time must be taken note of somehow back then. I also believe that the ocean that is crossed symbolizes a new a life. Aminata describes her new name, “Meena”, as being “a new name for the second life of a girl who survived the great river crossing”(127).  I believe while being on the ocean symbolizes death. Chekura talked much about being happy once they have crossed the ocean, though, while they were on the ocean it seemed dark and traumatic for anyone on the boat.

Aminata doesn’t only characterize as the basic hero archetype, but also as Mother Earth who contacts people and offers spiritual and emotional nourishment (Literary Devices). Aminata offers her ability to nourish the pregnant mothers who had been captivated as well. Aminata doesn’t only continue to delivery the babies of the pregnant women because her ability keeps her alive, but because this is one connection she has to her mother. Aminata’s strive to learn new things, help her teach others. As she spends much of her time with Georgia shortly after she had crossed the river, Aminata teaches Georgia how to nourish the pregnant women and take care of them. Aminata cares for many of the people she interacts with on an emotional basis just by being able to speak their language. She’s able to fulfill their needs and wants, as she is much known to be gifted. She helps the homelanders understand the toubabs to prevent them from any beatings. She also helps the toubabs as well as this becomes the key to help her stay alive. I believe the only reason Aminata is still alive is because she carries these gifts that are very cherish able to the masters.

Not only does Aminata give a Mother Earth archetype, but Georgia does as well. Georgia is more of a mother figure towards Aminata as she guides and teaches her the how to survive. Since the day Georgia found Aminata she has taken care of her like if she was a child of her own. Georgia was very trusted by Aminata as she “felt safe in her presence” and “fell into a sleep more profound than any she had known for many moons” (126).  I believe Georgia reminds Aminata of her mother, as she believes her warm body and her smell is comforting beside her (126). Throughout her experience on this new land, she spends most of her time with Georgia. Georgia shows patience with Aminata as she helps her learn a new language. Georgia is always teaching Aminata new things to make her life a bit more easier on the land. She talks all the time, finding many anything and everything to teach Aminata. She reminds me of any typical mother that would take their child out to meet

Mother Earth.

new people and have an answer to every question they ask. Although, Georgia seems to get annoyed with all of Aminata’s questions, she understands that Aminata just wants to learn something new about her own life. She taught Aminata that she is African and that the purpose of them being captured is so they can be slaves (135).

I believe the main character, Aminata’s, journey and Georgia’s, mother figure archetype journey align. Because they’re very similar in character, Georgia’s character seems as if it is meant to be Aminata’s character throughout the rest of the book. Although the book doesn’t mention much about Georgia’s past, it seems that she can relate it to what Aminata is going through at this point of the book. I believe the author meant for Aminata’s character to be the spitting image of Georgia as she grows up. Georgia is a positive character that influences Aminata in many ways. I believe that what Aminata learns from Georgia will reflect the person Aminata will become later in the book. I believe the loss of Aminata’s child will help her grow upon her journey and become a positive influence to others. Aminata will use this tragedy as strength to keep moving forward in life and survive. She will become a better hero throughout the book.

Works cited

  “Archetype – Examples and Definition of Archetype.” Literary Devices. Literary Devices, 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 02 May 2017.     

Hill, Lawrence. The Book of Negroes. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015. Print.                     

The Analysis of The Book of Negroes By Lawrence Hill

In order to understand a piece of literature, we must examine the text in a deeper meaning rather than just viewing it in an obvious manner. Although the author writes the piece of literature, it does not mean the author determines what the text means.  The readers determine the meaning of the text. The meaning of the text exist somewhere between the words on the page and the reader’s mind (Shmoop).

Cover of The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

The first section of The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill,  is not exactly what I had expected. The story of the book is fictional, but the history is very real. As a reader and a 18 year-old African-Canadian woman, I can feel the pain and fear of young, 11 year- old, Aminata Diallo, is going through. I found it upsetting to read about such a young girl and the harsh events she lived in, since our ages are not that far apart. I couldn’t imagine going through what Aminata Witnessing the deaths of my parents would be the most devastating situation I could go through. Although her parents taught her a lot about life, I don’t believe it was enough before they left. The aspects of life should be properly taught to a child because facing reality with no background knowledge about the world is difficult to handle at a young age. I believe the author included the death of Aminata’s parents in the book to bring out Aminata’s character. The aspect of the book would be different if her parents went through the horrific experiences with Aminata. I believe the book wouldn’t be about Aminata as much, but more about her parents. Aminata wouldn’t have to make her own decisions during difficult times if her parents were present through out the travel.y It is important for society to learn the history of horrific events that occurred so it is not repeated. Discrimination and slavery is such a cruel act to put upon a person. The impression the book is giving me about the author is that Lawrence Hill is someone who wants to expand the minds of the world about events that have been neglected to be told.

Tree diversity.



The author includes different languages in book. As I read, I wonder why he only repeats the one phrase and translates the other languages with a indication that the character is speaking a different language. Aminata repeats, “Allaahu Akbar” throughout the book, which means “God is great” in Arabic. I believe the author includes the phrases to remind us of the place the event is taking place in which begins in Africa. When he includes these phrases it helps me get to know the characters. Lawrence Hill also may be using this as a mental image for readers. The language of others form an image in my mind of how they may look. The author also separates different cultures of Africa by their physical appearance. Aminata identifies Chekura as being from the village of Kinta by the marks on his cheeks (Hill 35).

At this point, I believe the book is difficult to predict what will happen next. The book is separated into different individual books. It makes me nervous about what might happen to Aminata since everyone that was held captive attacked the captors and the toubabs. Aminata had no part of the attack as she didn’t know what was being planned. Aminata was no longer treated differently from everyone else since the captives could no longer be trusted. I believe Aminata is losing hope in survival across the waters and on a new land, as she says “I am cold, and I can’t even pray, Allah doesn’t live here” (94). Aminata will become lost because she is in a new land. Her midwifery and knowledge in several languages is what is keeping her alive. I believe Aminata will think she cannot proceed her skills in an unfamiliar land where she was not taught. Leaving her homeland also left behind Allah (God) and her parents.

As I analyze the book in a Reader Response literary theory,  I understand the book a lot easier. My strengths as a reader to analyze the meaning of the text gets better as I can relate to the text. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to a reader response theory (Readers Response to Literary). This helps me expand my mind since my thoughts can flow freely without worrying about if my theory about the literature piece is wrong.

Critical Thinking.

Works Cited

Hill, Lawrence. The Book of Negroes. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015. Print.

“Reader’s Response in Literature.” Reader’s Response — Activities and Strategies to Engage Students in Reading. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Reader-Response Theory.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.





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Use What We Know

We never realize the variety of knowledge we know until we have to put it to use. At some point, we have all wondered what the real use of Grade 12 University level English really is. We never think it is relevant to the program we want to take, but what we don’t understand is, that English is the apple to the pie in relevance to university; Without it, what really is university?  So, the question is: should Grade 12 University level English be a requirement for entry into all university programs?

Tree growing from open book
Tree growing from open book to show expansion in knowledge.

Each university program has its level of difficulty and expectations. In Grade 12 University level English, they prepare us for what is expected in university in terms of; reading and comprehension skills, writing skills, and, research skills. Without the preparation, we lack the knowledge we are already expected to know. Without the “how to” lessons, we lack the practice to get better. We must take one step at a time to increase our knowledge instead of skipping one too many steps and end up falling back.

According to The University of Waterloo, where they require students to pass an exam testing their English language skills before entry. Almost a third of those students are failing. Poor grammar is the major reason students are failing. We cannot jump into something we don’t know. We need the preparation to help us through university and expand our knowledge to a higher level of thinking.

In any career path we choose to take, we must show some sort of professionalism in what we do. In university, we will be challenged to show what we have learned in several different forms of writing. What we learn in school is always used some

Placeholder Image
Paper and pen. The main tools needed to write.

where down our career paths. We will always have to write reports, documents, or emails, in which has to do with our jobs. Depending on what we study in university, we will be required to learn new terminology that we must be able to put into words that make it easier for us to understand. With the proper grammar, expansion in our vocabulary, and proper writing techniques, we will make our jobs easier for ourselves and others to achieve a good career.

When we think of Grade 12 University level English, we think of it as being long essay papers, 1000 word reports and just pure stress. But, what we don’t realize is English is really about literature and critical thinking. We have become lazy in our society with our English. We have started to express ourselves with short terms and abbreviations, so much, that we are beginning to forget proper grammar and writing techniques. Having Grade 12 University level English as requirement for entry into universities forces us to constantly be critical in our thinking, grammar, writing skills, and research skills, do to the fact, short term and abbreviations are not acceptable in terms of proper English. We realize the benefits of learning proper English every day since it follows us every where we go.