Little Bee (The Other Hand)
How we cite our quotes:
Sarah looked straight back at him. She said, "The child believes he has special powers."
The commander grinned. "Well, I am just a man," he said. "I will not arrest any of you at this time." (11.127, 11.128)
Whew. We find this moment hopeful. Sarah seems to know just how to relate to the Nigerian authorities. She treats them with respect and tells them the truth. This reasonableness on both sides presents an argument that when honest, respectful communication is present, things can be resolved peacefully.
"That is it. Udo means, peace. Do you know what peace is, Charlie?"
Charlie shook his head.
"Peace is the time when people can tell each other their real names." (11.240-11.242)
Little Bee is referring specifically to the fact that she and Charlie can call each other "Udo" and "Charlie" instead of "Little Bee" and "Batman." At least between the two of them there's peace. The line also refers to the motif of disguise found throughout the novel in both Sarah and Little Bee's chapters. What do you make of Little Bee's definition of peace? Do you think it's a good one?
But me, I watched all of those children smiling and dancing and splashing one another in salt water and bright sunlight, and I laughed and laughed and laughed until the sound of the sea was drowned. (11.249)
The imagery here is very hopeful – salt water, bright sun, laughter, dancing. But the sound of the sea is also a source of desperation for Little Bee. It's what she heard along with the sounds of her sister being raped, tortured, and murdered. The fact that laughter is what Little Bee uses to drown out that sound seems pretty hopeful to us.