Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 63 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 63 Summary

Now when Kunta thinks about Juffure, he feels nothing but emptiness. If Kunta still lived there, he would have a few sons by now. Yet Kunta still did not like to think about taking a wife. One of the reasons is that Kunta feels that jumping over a broom to signify marriage is a silly idea for such a special occasion. As a Mandinka man of more than thirty rains, he should choose a woman only sixteen rains old. However, Kunta thinks nothing of the girls that age in this land. They are just as giggly here as they were in Juffure.

The first woman Kunta seriously considers is Liza, the cook on Doctor Waller’s parents’ plantation. Liza has certainly shown interest in Kunta. However, because she lives on another plantation, he would be able to see her only with a valid traveling pass and only on Saturdays. On the other hand, since Liza tends to smother Kunta, the distance might be a blessing. However, living apart is not how a family thrives. As Kunta thinks more and more about Liza, there is always something in his thoughts preventing him from going farther.

Suddenly, Kunta’s mind wanders toward Bell. Kunta wonders why he hadn’t thought of Bell sooner! Still, Kunta tries to nix the idea in his mind. She is a heathen, even having a picture of Jesus in her cabin. She gets upset when she is compared to anything Mandinkan. She has participated in petty annoyances with him for years. Kunta has never even dreamed of Bell. Bell is too bossy and irate, and she talks far too much. However, Kunta cannot shake Bell from his mind.

Kunta starts to think longingly about Bell. He remembers how she cared for him when his foot was healing. He remembers how she performed the ancient African ritual with the poultice to cure his fever. He remembers how strong and healthy she has always been. He remembers how well Bell can cook.

Ironically, Kunta acts colder and colder to Bell the warmer his feelings become. It doesn’t help that Fiddler and the gardener suspect something. Therefore, when Kunta asks where Bell is from, they immediately jump on the subject. Fiddler and the gardener start joking with Kunta about Bell’s big backside and how only Kunta could handle it. Kunta becomes so enraged with the two friends speaking about something so serious in this manner that Kunta storms out of Fiddler’s hut.