Little Bee (The Other Hand)
How we cite our quotes:
The African girl they locked up in the immigration detention center, poor child, she never really escaped. (1.34)
It's hard to understand exactly what Little Bee means by this. It points to the fractured state of her identity at this time, and her sense of imprisonment, even though she's no longer literally detained. It demonstrates the desperation she feels over what has happened to her.
In a few breaths' time I will speak sad words to you. But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this story-teller is alive. (1.40)
Little Bee has the difficult task of acknowledging the horrors of the world while not losing hope in the power and possibility of being alive. Seeing that sari girl and Yevette have lived to wear their very visible scars gives her hope that she might live too. Storytelling is also related to hope in this novel. One of Little Bee's purposes for telling her story is to educate people in industrialized, English-speaking countries about people like herself in hopes this will make a difference.
"Dere's freedom as in, yu girls is free to go, and den dere's freedom as in, yu girls is free to go till we catches you. Sorry, but it's that second kind of freedom we got right now, Lil Bee. Truth. Dey call it being a illegal immigrant. (3.31)
For Yevette, freedom is the biggest form of hope. She's willing to brave the streets of London with no money and papers, and willing to have sex with a detention center employee in order to get it. What do you think you would do for freedom?