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John Ahrens

Hiss 11-A
Dr. Diaz
March 6, 2015

The Kingdom of This World

The novel, The Kingdom Of This World, is a historical novel


telling the story about Haiti before, during, and after the Haitian
revolution. It takes place through the eyes of many different characters
both real and fiction. One such character goes by the name of Ti Nol
and is a slave during the Haiti revolution. The novel describes many
important aspects of the revolution such as the role the religion
Voudoun played in the revolution and other important aspects. The
novel, The Kingdom of This World, is a simple yet accurate account
of the Haitian revolution through both the eyes of a slave and other
people who witnessed the revolution.
One major factor throughout the Haitian revolution and the novel
is the role that Voudoun played. Voudoun is a religion that contains
aspects of both Christian and Voodoo influences that many slaves
participated in. Voudoun played a major role in the revolution because
it was the glue that helped unite the African slaves. Slaves from all
different parts of Africa where united under this common religion. It

also gave slaves hope and answers to many things. In the novel after
the slave Macandal runs away and poisons the white people he
suddenly disappears.
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However his disappearance does not worry the slaves, and they say,
They all knew that the green lizard, the night moth, the strange dog,
the incredible gannet, were nothing but disguises. The slaves know he
has simply changed forms and are waiting for his return to begin the
uprising. This is a good example of how Voudoun influenced the slaves
because it gave them hope for the future of the rebellion and they
believed that with Macandal on their side they would win.
In this novel, Henri Christophe the black king of Haiti plays an
important role as well. Henri Christophe took power after the general
Toussaint L'Ouverture was taken prisoner by the French. He was vital to the Haitians,
because he represented their last hope for Haiti to remain free from the French and
slavery. Because he still feared an attack and then enslavement by the French again,
Henri Christophe began construction of one of the worlds biggest forts the Citadel.
However in order to construct a fort of this magnitude, Henri Christophe needed one
thing. Workers. Because of this he forced the population of Haiti back into slavery once
again to complete his fort. Many workers viewed enslavement under a black leader was
worse, and in, The Kingdom of This World, Ti noel says, Even worse, for there was
affront in being beaten by a Negro as black as oneself. Because of this, the population
of Haiti soon rose up and fought once again for freedom from slavery. However in the

documentary Blacks in Latin America it was not mentioned how the citadel was built
with slaves like it was in the novel. The only things mentioned were its vast and
impenetrable walls, and how because of its size no French army attacked it.

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At the end of the novel, when Ti Nol is living back at the ruins of the plantation
he worked on, the geese that used to live there greet him. Because Ti Nol likes the geese
and believes they are, Orderly beings with principles, systems whose existence denied
all superiority of individual over individual of the same species, he changes himself into
a goose and tries to become one of their clan. However they are not impressed with his
attempts at becoming one of them and Ti Nol realizes that he wont become one of them,
saying, It had ben made crystal clear to him that being a goose did not imply that al
geese were equal. This shows that even in the animal kingdom, equality is not naturally
given. People will always have to fight to be accepted and given equal treatment. With
this realization, Ti Nol has an epiphany that, a mans greatness consists in the very fact of
wanting to be better than he is. With this it doesnt matter if someone is a slave or master,
general or soldier, their only measure of greatness that matters is wanting and striving to
be better. For it doesnt matter how you lived your live if it was in poverty or as a king,
every man dies and ends up in the same place.