Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah

Start Free Trial

Student Question

How do Trevor Noah's stories about his mother in Born a Crime inform the theme of freedom?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

On the topic of freedom, Noah argues that certain people have the will and imagination to lead an independent life regardless of their situation.

In his autobiography Born a Crime, Trevor Noah discusses how his mom continually disobeyed the injunctions of apartheid in South Africa. Noah says his mom “refused to be bound by ridiculous ideas of what Black people couldn’t or shouldn’t do,” so she raised him as if “there were no limitations.” Therefore, freedom is a product of individual people and specific relationships. If Noah had a different mom, one less bold and rebellious, he might not have felt so free. His mom made him feel free, which suggests her will rubbed off on him. Noah also provides examples of freedom that don't exclusively link to race, like when she lets him drive on a deserted highway as a six-year-old. This shows, in general, that his mom was dedicated to conferring the feeling of liberty to him.

Another trait of Noah’s mom that is tied to freedom is imagination. They didn’t have much money, so his mom continually came up with ways to give him an array of experiences, like visiting parks or having picnics in places with beautiful views even though the picnic was “only baloney and brown bread.” Here, one can instill freedom in their life through resourcefulness. As Noah writes, “I never felt poor because our lives were so rich with experience.”

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial