Richard Frethornes Letter to Parents 1623

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The American Experience of an Indentured Servant Richard Frethorne’s letters to his parents in 1623 presents us with an abrupt image of what life as an indentured servant was like in the New World near the Virginia colonization. Frethorne’s letters are filled with vivid descriptions of his discomfort and hardships. Malnutrition, disease, threats of violence, brutal labor, isolation, and death are all common elements of Richard Frethorne’s letters and his life as an indentured servant. Most owners of indentured servants made their servants work as much as possible while spending as little as possible on the servants’ upkeep and contentment. Frethorne’s time as a servant was so brutal that he believed he would have been better off living life as a crippled beggar in his hometown of England rather than being a servant in the New World (Lauter 289). From Frethorne’s letters you can deeply feel the true pain and suffering he went through on a daily basis and you learn how much he begged and wished for his family to help him be back with them again in England. Simply, Frethorne’s experience as an indentured servant in the New World was unpleasant. His life during this time was rough due to elements, including: scarcity of food, weakness of the body, and loss of hope for a better life. During this time in the New World the demand for food was incredibly high, and only the wealthy were the ones lucky enough to get a real meal each day (Kupperman). Times were extremely tough and being an indentured servant made things even harder. Obviously during this time the importance of food was very crucial to everyone but, as for the servants food was something that many of them could only dream of or even be lucky enough to receive. This hardship associated with food began on the journey to the New World from England when many servants died of starvation. Then it continued because

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