Fatima, the Biloquist: A Transformation Story

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Fatima, the Biloquist: A Transformation Story” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “Fatima, the Biloquist: A Transformation Story” (2016) 
Author: Nafissa Thompson-Spires 
Genre: Short story

Nafissa Thompson-Spires (b. 1983) is an African-American writer. She has a Masters in creative writing and a PhD from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her first published collection of short stories Heads of the Colored People (2018) has been translated into various languages. 


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Social setting

The social setting explores racial differences and discrimination.

Fatima goes to a private school where she is “one of two black girls”. Her status as an outsider is hinted at from the beginning, when the students barely pay attention to her presentation in AP English

On the other hand, the students applaud her white classmate Wally Arnett when he reads a text that contains a racial slur against black people. In fact, Fatima remarks on how she and Wally are treated differently:

It wasn’t fair, Fatima thought, that Wally was praised, even mildly popular for his FUBU shirts and Jordans with the tags still on them, yet Fatima was called “ghetto supastar” the one time she outlined her lips with dark pencil. Nor was it fair that she should get a warning from Principal Lee for “looking like she might become violent” when Wally said “nigger” and got applause ...

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Fatima, the Biloquist: A Transformation Story

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