A meaningful life is what a wide range of individuals pursue throughout their lives, during which time and opportunity are indispensable. In his memoir, Born A Crime, Trevor Noah explores how opportunities can be hindered but if an individual conquers an opportunity during a suitable time the mutual understanding can create a purposeful life. Noah recognizes that his mother Patricia Noah, served as the foundation of every one of his achievements, not only through motivating him to think for himself and dream about the kind of prosperity normally reserved for whites throughout the apartheid, as well as by shaping his mentality and motivation when the obstacles towards her seemed stacked. Noah’s love for his mother in the book and commemorates her strength in the face of risk, violence and deprivation. This novel suggests that even though not everybody gets the same opportunities in life, individuals should have a clear mindset about how they can make their life meaningful even when time and opportunity don’t align.
The mother of Trevor, Patricia, is a key figure throughout the memoir. She is ferociously defiant and doesn’t worry what others might believe of her trumpeting the rules of society. Patrica is not an illogical person, caring deeply for her children and making innumerable sacrifices for them. It was her desire to prevent Trevor from internalizing his oppression and to persuade him that he was more than social stereotypes.Before Trevor had come into her life she discovered that her faith in religion made her way of life purposeful. Chrisitanity was a huge part of Patrica’s life, it shaped her views and beliefs and who she was as a character. In general, Noah’s mother sees her destiny and fate as the instruments of the will of God. In order to gain the power and security that she otherwise does not have in her life, she dedicates numerous hours to prayer. “She was never scared. Even when she should have been.” Trevor’s mother believed that as long as god was behind her back, there is negative nothing in the world that could be against her. Noah’s mom, brings the family to three churches that last the whole day, and she seems to feel that the more church she goes to, the more support she receives and the more likely she is to have her prayers answered. Patricas faith in Christianity is paradoxical at the same time, and totally logical, because it adopts the philosophy which is used to justify its exploitation. It is logical because religion gives her a means to cope with this oppression. To many other settlers around the world, religion is an important source of comfort and meaning; it helps them to retain faith against their exceptional persecution but also to make concrete progress in the settlement by observing colonial customs. Religion is a crucial source of solace and value. Patricia’s fearlessness and faith both interplay allowing her to defy the laws designed to manipulate her by fear and violence, demonstrating the inherent irony of a framework which distinguishes human life based on race rather than common humanity.
Born a Crime discusses the atmosphere of Patrica Noah in her country as it transformed from apartheid a white supremacist system of government based on racial discrimination, forced labour, and non-white disenfranchisement, to a tenuous government led by the black majority. Despite her childhood, she seeks to live her life to what she believes and recognizes repression as an almost unbeatable challenge, but never as an unmanageable obstacle to her achievements. In fact, she refuses to follow unconstitutional laws and refuses to compromise her values and interests out of paranoia, even if this leads her to live entirely under secrecy. “She wanted to do something, figured out a way to do it, and then she did it. She had a level of fearlessness that you have to possess to take on something like she did.” Patricia is too ambitious to work for occupations that black women usually work for, and she learns to write and become a secretary which was a profession that the government is willing to let blacks accept as a compromise to their human rights abuses. She travels from Soweto to downtown Johannesburg, which is prohibited because the downtown area is reserved for white people. Patricia violates the rules; Xhosa prostitutes show her how to pass as a maid and inform her to rent a room from a ‘German fellow’ (Robert) who doesn’t bother much about the law. Additionally, Patrica could never really depend on her family; once she was sent off to live with in what they called the ‘homelands’ she was abandoned left to survive on her own as a small child, because of being born under apartheid. Nevertheless her hardships throughout her childhood, develops her endurance to face the bitter reality of the world.
Although Noah does not necessarily defend his mother’s decision to put her own aspirations first and to leave her family, it certainly makes sense, considering the mistreatment of her entire family, it has may have had an impact on her ability to raise him individually and successfully Her haughty, indomitable spirit continues as she decides to have Trevor — in reality, she does not want the support of a male to support raising her child, and she doesn’t seem to fear that it’s going to be incredibly difficult for her to continue living with a child of another race (as per the government) ‘I chose to have you because I wanted something to love and love me unconditionally in return.’ Patricia’s entire life of suffering seems to act contrary to her having a strong relationship with her parents throughout Trevor’s childhood; she acknowledges how agony can be both empowering and devastating, but she does all she can to ensure that Trevor identifies it as soon as he opens his eyes, not wishing him to go through adversity as his mother did. Patricia’s objective in parenting was like a spiritual mission, and she undoubtedly succeeds.Patricia also wants to give him the ability to question himself, and tools such as teaching him English, in order to achieve maximum the use of freedom that she seeks to provide him. Patricia articulates her affection towards Trevor by explaining to him his capabilities that his friends do not see within themselves; even if Trevor doesn’t achieve great things she makes him realize that this kind of point of view was not available to anyone who has spent their life in Soweto. Just as she accomplished her own independence during apartheid in downtown Johannesburg, she is now seeking freedom for Trevor’s by inspiring him to find success and happiness through his own determination, even though the universe is doing its best to prevent it.
Trevor and Patricia are both extremely independent and neither feels the need for an male to guide their family. Unfortunately, Patricia introduces a male to Trevor when he was around the age of six or seven, and begins dating and ultimately marries Abel only because she likes him, not because she was obligated to. It contradicts Abel’s own underlying motives for pursuing her, just as in the stereotypical views of an African male during that era, it requires that he be desired or dependent on, that Patricia refuses to accept.“She ricocheted off the wall and collapsed like a ton of bricks. I’d never seen anything like it. She went down and stayed down for a good thirty seconds.” He begins to implement the traditional gender roles of Tsonga society, focused on an inherent belief that he should dominate his family and thus determines what he wishes to do. Abel also had no empathy towards his family so he chose violence to suppress Patricia’s behaviors. As always, she refuses to abide by the laws of others, so she had no intention in granting him a second chance or control whatever he desires from her. Trevor acknowledges that at the moment, due to his naivete, he was oblivious about both relationships and cultural norms.
Through retrospect, Trevor now understands why his mother made a conscious decision she had made: she became more concerned about the danger Abel presented so she was concentrated mostly on her health and wellbeing than on her freedom. Eventually Patrica does leave Abel by getting a divorce but he goes far enough by shooting her, as his goal was wanting to murder her for leaving him. Incredibly, given her trauma, Patricia survives and places Trevor’s concerns first and cares more about his well being than about her own life threatening condition. “She broke out in a huge smile and started laughing.” Patricia’s approach to almost dying becomes almost abominably resilient and illustrates that her bravery is tremendous, she laughs with Trevor and embraces one of the most unimaginable experiences. Even through the harshest scenario, Patrica is struggling to compose her own future without caring about how time will impact her, she is thankful for her loved ones, and sees value through them in her life. Trevor valued her like no one else in the universe and genuinely believed that she was the least person on the planet to endure something so horrible not primarily because she was an excellent mother, but mostly because of how much she was devoted to Christianity as she had conquered so much all throughout the apartheid because of her own boldness. Even through the most harsh situations Patrica goes through she strives to write her own future not caring about how time could affect it, she is grateful for her loved ones, and finds meaning in her life through them.