Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Part 1, Chapter 10

By M.T. Anderson

Part 1, Chapter 10

  • Octavian's beating himself up for not knowing sooner.
  • He doesn't tell us right off what, exactly, he didn't know though.
  • Instead, he takes us back to this memory he has of hanging out with Bono.
  • Octavian wants to know why Bono wants to change his name, and Bono says he doesn't like it because it was given to him as a joke.
  • Octavian doesn't get the joke, so Bono explains that since he was bought when he was in his mother's womb, he got the name Pro Bono, as in for free—as in two for the price of one.
  • Just like Octavian, Bono points out.
  • But Octavian's confused, and is all no, my mom's a princess.
  • Was a princess, Bono says.
  • Octavian goes on to explain that Cassiopeia chose to come to Boston because she didn't like the southern ports, but Bono just looks sorry for Octavian and jokes that Cassiopeia being in Boston had nothing to do with the fact that the southern ports sent the sickest slaves up to New England because Southerners didn't want those slaves.
  • Octavian doesn't really get Bono's point.
  • Then Bono realizes that—wowOctavian doesn't know he is a slave.
  • He tells Octavian that this one time, Octavian can cry, because it'll be the last time he's free.
  • Then the chapter switches to an ad taken from The Boston Gazette, June 12, 1759.
  • The ad shows an auction to be held for slaves from the ship The Incontrovertible, brought to Boston by Captain McFergus.

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