The Moor's Account Summary & Study Guide

Laila Lalami
This Study Guide consists of approximately 53 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Moor's Account.
This section contains 631 words
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The Moor's Account Summary & Study Guide Description

The Moor's Account Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami.

The Moor’s Account is the fictional memoir of Mustafa ibn Muhammad, a Moroccan slave that was part of a Castilian exploration group exploring La Florida. Mustafa is owned by Señor Dorantes, a captain assigned to the expedition. Their original goal was to explore the land, but greed gets the better of the expedition when they discover trace amounts of gold in one of the Indian villages. The leader of the expedition, governor Narváez, captures a group of Indians. He forcefully extracts information from them about a fabled capital city known as Apalache, which is supposed to be filled with even more gold.

The expedition travels through the land and discovers the city of Apalache, but there is no gold. To make matters worse, they are running low on supplies and have become lost in the unknown land. They try to find a Spanish port where they can get help, but there’s nothing to be find. Narváez refuses to give up the idea that there might be gold nearby. He keeps interrogating the Indians for information. He pushes onwards, but the expedition is plagued with sickness, a lack of supplies, and constant attack from the natives.

Throughout the journey, Mustafa reminisces on his past. His family wanted him to become a notary when he was younger, but he defied their wishes and became a merchant. He was fascinated with being a merchant because of how much money they made. His desire for money continued to grow and he soon found himself trading slaves. When the town came under siege, he lost his job and struggled to make any money. With no other way to take care of his family, he sold himself into slavery.

The expedition soon falls apart and the survivors are scattered throughout the region. Mustafa and his master along with some of his other companions manage to find a friendly Indian tribe. Mustafa learns their language and customs and gets help for the expedition. Disease forces them to move once again, their numbers much smaller. Madness begins to set in for some of the survivors, who desert the group and end up resorting to cannibalism. A few members give up on returning home and try to find home amongst the Indians.

Mustafa feels terrified, but also free on his journey. The survivors have all been reduced to nothing, but that makes them equal. They try to get what help they can from the tribes, but their numbers continue to dwindle. Dorantes brother, Diego, is slain by a tribe of Indians which sends Dorantes spiraling into depression. He abandons the camp, leaving Mustafa with the other lone survivor, Castillo. Mustafa is eventually reunited with his master at another tribe, where they encounter another survivor, Cabeza de Vaca.

Together, the four become legends amongst the different tribes thanks to their medical knowledge. Soon, they are all wed by the tribe. They spend years traveling together, treating different tribes and gathering a large group of followers. Eventually, they run into fellow Castilians, who bring them to New Spain. They are welcomed back amongst their own, but for Mustafa this means becoming a slave once again. To make matters worse, his wife is enslaved alongside him.

Mustafa is sent on his master’s behalf on another expedition. Mustafa recognizes that this expedition is as failed as the last. He tricks the leader of the expedition, letting him and his wife travel ahead of the group to act as emissaries. Each time they send false information back to deter the expedition, making them believe there are no riches and the lands are dangerous. Mustafa fakes his own death and escapes from the expedition with his pregnant wife, determined to live a free life with her.

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This section contains 631 words
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