Breaking The Silence: a Review of 'Born a Crime' Memoir

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1080 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Feb 11, 2023

Words: 1080|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Feb 11, 2023

'Born a Crime' is a memoir written by South African comedian and actor, Trevor Noah. The book was published in 2016 and it tells the story of Noah's upbringing in South Africa during the time of apartheid. “Born a Crime” essay shows how the book covers his childhood and teenage years, and it provides a unique and personal perspective on the effects of apartheid on the lives of black South Africans. 

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In his book, Born A Crime, Trevor Noah describes encounters from his childhood in South Africa. Apartheid make difficult for his position on various parts of his life because his parents are different races, this causes a divide in the family and ultimately Trevor loses contact with his father. The apartheid soon ends but racial groups struggle to integrate themselves still dividing off into their racial groups even with opportunity of integration. Since Trevor was raised by his mother Patricia, he identifies himself as black but he looks like a colored person since he is mixed. This causes Trevor many problems because he is always put with colored kids who either resent him for his whiteness or think of him aw below them for his blackness, as a coping mechanism Trevor learns as many south african dialects as possible as a way to connect himself with others. When Trevor was 8 years old his mother married an abusive alcoholic named Abel. This man troubled the family for years until he was eventually arrested for attempted murderer. Unfortunately for the Noah family Abel wasn't incarcerated and walks free to this day. How did issues of race play out in Noah’s relationships and loved by his parents with those closest to him — his mother, father, grandparents? Family relates to their love by Trevor, relationship with him especially his mother, and relation Trevor Noah who he is today.

It's demonstrating the effects of the apartheid, even within there own family, as well as showing that white privilege in a another perspective and relationship with his grandparent. Trevor's grandmother tell him as if he was white, despite Trevor being naughty and sharing the same blood she sees him as fragile, precious, making her feel as if it's not here place to touch him. At Trevor's young age he never challenged his family member's perception on race, stating that their views are false, instead he accepted it. Throughout the passage that another demonstration was used with his grandfather. His grandfather called me 'Mastah.' when he was in the car. He insisted that he sat in the back as if was chauffeur ‘Mastah must always sit in the backseat’. Trevor experienced different treatment from his family in many aspects. Connecting this to the way of life then the segregation and its benefits for the race that systematical put themselves above all. Trevor began to understand why would they push against a system made to empower you over others, despite it's negativity. The acceptance of double standards is what gave life to the apartheid for as long as it did.

Trevor recalls how at the young age of thirteen his father moved away to Cape Town and they then began to lose touch as a result of her mother’s new husband Abel not wanting her to connect with Robert. “I went from seeing my dad every Sunday to seeing him every other Sunday, maybe once a month, whenever my mom could sneak me over”. To Trevor, Robert was a complete mystery as he still had so many questions about him and his life that he wanted answered. However, in his early twenties Trevor got quite busy with his career, and they completely lost touch. Later on, when Noah turned twenty-four the questions he had surrounding his father started to snowball and so he finally attempted to track his father down. Upon meeting his father after ten years, Noah came to realization that Robert in fact kept track of him this entire time and kept all of his accomplishments and everything he had ever done in his career in a scrapbook. At the moment Trevor felt as if his father had never left him and had been by his side the entire time, as if only a day had passed since he last seen him. “For years I’d had so many questions Is he thinking about me? Does he know what I’m doing? Is he proud of me? But he’d been with me the whole time He’d always been proud of me. Circumstance had pulled us apart, but he was never not my father”. This chapter does an excellent job showing the up’s and down’s in Trevor’s relationship with his father. It’s shows that although Trevor and his father had been completely isolated from one another, Robert’s love for his son bridged any gap’s that had been created between them during their time away. It demonstrates the theme that love will always prevail, no matter the obstacle that may oppose it and it also helps build a positive impression on Robert's character and his love and existence in his son Trevor’s life.

Politically-sanctioned racial segregation finished part of the way through Noah's adolescence. While this implied he could formally go to schools with individuals from all races, the inner circles inside each school stayed isolated. For quite a bit of Noah's journal, he centers around this thought of individuals being isolated, either persuasively, and by the legislature, or of their own volition. Noah dependably felt partitioned and like he never fit in anyplace in view of his skin shading. Noah's mother is black, while his father is white; under politically-sanctioned racial segregation in South Africa, this implied he would be lawfully delegated non-white. Notwithstanding, he before long understands that in spite of the fact that he is lawfully viewed as 'hued,' he recognizes as being dark. This advancement of his self-saw personality is a noteworthy string that interfaces every section and is seen through his communications with the general population and places around him.

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In conclusion “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” is a memoir written by Trevor Noah that tells the story of his childhood growing up in South Africa during the era of Apartheid. The book is a personal and powerful account of the impact of racism and discrimination and it provides a glimpse into the daily lives and struggles of the people of South Africa during the Apartheid era. It's a well-written book that has been widely acclaimed for its compelling storytelling and powerful message.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Breaking the Silence: a Review of ‘Born a Crime’ Memoir. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
“Breaking the Silence: a Review of ‘Born a Crime’ Memoir.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
Breaking the Silence: a Review of ‘Born a Crime’ Memoir. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2024].
Breaking the Silence: a Review of ‘Born a Crime’ Memoir [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Feb 11 [cited 2024 Mar 2]. Available from:
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