Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 82 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 82 Summary

Kunta eavesdrops outside as Bell chides Kizzy for flirting with Noah. Kunta is very surprised because he never suspected this, thinking the two were purposely avoiding each other. Kunta isn’t sure what to think about the entire affair because in Africa a father always makes sure of good breeding before a match is made. In the United States (and as slaves), there is no way to be sure of something like good breeding.

What Kunta does like about Noah is that any baby would be as black as can be. Kunta is disgusted even hearing about lighter skinned babies, always a product of a white master or overseer raping a slave. Kunta secretly thanks Allah that he doesn’t know of anyone who had that tragic experience. In fact, William Waller always speaks against that horrid practice even if it is for a less honorable reason: Waller simply thinks blacks and whites shouldn’t mix.

Kunta isn’t the only one doing the observing, however. It isn’t long before he notices that Noah is observing Kunta as well. Finally, after weeks of peeking around barns and bushes, Noah approaches Kunta with a plan to run away. Kunta is shocked and can only say that Noah is forbidden to run away with Kizzy. It turns out that Noah approaches Kunta to ask him about his four escape attempts. Kunta remembers the terror of those times and the frustration of daily living when all he could think about was freedom.

Noah is so young and knows so little about escaping that Kunta tells Noah to be ready to die if he is caught. At least Noah knows how to follow the North Star. He also has a knife he plans to use to kill anyone or anything that becomes a threat, dogs and people alike. Noah admits that he doesn’t know when he’s going to run, but it will be soon. Again and again, Kunta demands that Kizzy has nothing to do with this escape. However, as Noah turns to go, Kunta grabs “the young man’s hand between both of his own” and says, “I hopes you makes it.”

That night, as Kizzy sits studying her reading and writing yet again, Kunta marvels at the beauty and intelligence of his daughter. Kunta wishes he could spare her all of the suffering this land is bringing to their family.