African-American author Toni Morrison’s book, Beloved, describes a black culture born out of a dehumanising period of slavery just after the Civil War. Culture is a means of how a group collectively believe, act, and interact on a daily basis. Those who have studied her work refer to Morrison’s narrative tales as “literature…that addresses the sacred and as an allegorical representation of black experience” (Baker-Fletcher 1993: 2). Although African Americans had a difficult time establishing their own culture during the period of slavery when they were considered less than human, Morrison believes that black culture has been built on the horrors of the past and it is this history that has shaped contemporary black culture in a positive way. Through the use of linguistic devices, her representation of black women, imagery and symbolic features, and the theme of interracial relations, Morrison illustrates that black culture that is resilient, vibrant, independent, and determined.
Briana Urias English 3, Cordelia Ross Caged Bird vs. The Slave’s Dream In “Caged Bird” and “The Slave’s Dream”, each discusses the matters of what African Americans were deprived of and how they yearned for the rights that others had. Although both Maya Angelou and Henry Longfellow are approaching the same subject of oppression, each use their own colorful diction and well structure to effectively convey the different perspectives they hold on the topic. While one poem is struggling and grasping for the hope of finding their haven, the other discovers that it can be found simplest of places and no longer needs to hold on to that hope. Firstly, when the writing of the poems occurred, each poet took a different approach in the point of views of them.
The novel depicts the lives of several ex-slaves and exposes the oppression and devastating consequences slavery had, and continues to have, on their lives. Once free, the slaves attempt to reclaim their individual identities and collective humanity, but the effects of slavery still haunt them, preventing them from being able to live in and enjoy the present or think about the future. Morrison states, “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” (111). The novel illustrates the characters’ struggle to obtain a true sense of self, a process that can only be successful if done both individually and on a collective level. Morrison shows that ones identity is crucial to her success and happiness in life and a person can only identify herself as a separate entity through both individual and collective effort.
As time passed, further demands materialised. For example, I was never allowed time off if unwell, and was expected to continue working wearing a surgical mask. I recall feeling angry both with myself and the parents for the situation I was in. Being new to the vocation, I felt I had no choice but to do as I had been told, after-all, not only was I the employee, but I also lived with the family. Whenever demands were made of me or if I had a query, the mother was always unwilling to make a decision alone.
She discusses the story in a unique way because she changes its point of view; helping the audience gain a new perspective of the issue. “I would rather drudge out my life on a cotton plantation, till the grave opened to give me rest, than to live with an unprincipled master and a jealous mistress” (Jacobs 84). Jacobs’ story speaks out to me because she addresses an audience of people that slavery should have been stopped. She tells a story about how traumatizing the life of an enslaved black female can be. She tries to gain sympathy for what she has been through.
As a result of attempting to uphold their self-respect, many slaves rebelled and ran away, they refused to be treated in such a manner. History involves the learning of the past. In general, history is learned starting from elementary school to when one stops attending school. So it would not be a shock to society that, slavery did exist. This essay is not written to inform one of the events that took place and to teach of what has been taught previously, but it is written to show readers the economical and psychological background of that era to determine if slave still kept their dignity.
Middle class Americans are a group variously described throughout American history. However, the term “slaves” would probably never be chosen as a description of this societal group. Outside of the unfortunate illegal slave trade stories reported by the news media, the concept of slavery is considered a “thing of the past.” However, the stories and poems created by Realism authors such as Mark Twain and Paul Lawrence Dunbar provide a continual reminder of the heinousness of this practice. Their works do not speak of the facts and figures and arguments either for or against slavery but of the actual human experience of being a slave. When reading their work, one feels the emotional and mental impact of being a possession, of the lack of choice and of the absence of freedom.
Treachery and Virtue in “Oroonoko or The Royal Slave” Treachery and Virtue are two things that often times do not go together. They in fact contradict one another completely. However, in Oroonoko these two themes play a very important role in the development of the story as a whole. They are the basis for this paper and they teach the reader that if a man’s word is not his bond and he allows himself to be consumed with only self gratification, then that man will abandon his virtues and often become a treacherous person. Because this novel was written during a period in history that dealt with the injustices of slavery, this paper will take on the aspect of a sociological criticism.
Elijah Perry Section 102-08 Dr. Whitfill 12/12/12 Mandatory Military Service: Not a Loss of Freedom; a Gain of Liberty In my youth, admittedly, I had my fair share of issues with authority and trouble abiding by all the rules for which I saw no need or reason. I neglected my studies to have fun and a “social life” thinking I had no use for history, composition writing, and trigonometry. I was always asked what I wanted to be and each time I had a different answer because I didn’t know. I had ideas of what I wanted to do but no clue of how to get there and those dreams seemed so unattainable and far away. I had jobs that I didn’t like and therefore no incentive to put forth my best effort.
The situation of African American people in the USA has been a disputable issue since the abolition of slavery. The treatment of African American people, who were excluded from the rights and rules of the mainstream society, began the fight for equality within the African American society. One of the most remarkable African American authors is Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison’s novels represent the issues of class distinction among African American people and their individual characters represent different life-styles, personalities and destinies. They also focus on the issues of the underclass of women in the male-dominated African American society.