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The Slave Dancer

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 2000

It all began in the cold month of January, 1840, in New Orleans. Fog laid a heavy blanket on the streets and alleyways of the city. Rain steadily engulfed the seaside locality, and the sound of drunken riverboat men and the slaves celebrating their festivities surrounded the area. New Orleans was where Jessie Bollier lived, and was the place where he was captured on that dark January evening. Jessie then found himself aboard The Moonlight, the slaver with its towering sails and masts, cabins and storage space under the deck. These were places where Jessie had to 'dance the slaves' and where the captain and crew would spend many weeks living in fear of the slaves, of each other, and of getting caught. In the Bight of Benin, on the rugged coasts of Africa, where the multitudes of slaves were captured and mistreated. The crew then made their way across the Atlantic once again to land in the Gulf of Mexico. The Moonlight was anchored there and stayed because it was here where the ship submerged. Two of the survivors washed up on the shores of Mississippi, who were Jessie and Ras meet Daniel, their soon to be friend. Ras was a slave Jessie befriended while on the ship. The Slave Dancer is written through Jessie's eyes, and projects a depressing, melancholy mood. It is the tragic song of the slaves and the mistreatment of Jessie and the slaves. The hero of the story is the thirteen year old boy, Jessie Bollier. "He's a fearful runt," comments Captain Cawthorne. He is brought on board the slaver to make the slaves dance, to keep them healthy. Jessie innocent and does not fully understand his purpose. "My life had turned upside down. My friend was a man who pressganged me. I disliked the man who befriended me." Jessie does not realize what is going on within him. He does not realize that these men, these women, and children are slaves...are owned. He does not perceive the cruel treatment of the slaves, but does not know why. Jessie himself puts it best, "My stomach rebelled." The antagonist is surprisingly Jessie, but after the voyage. He went through many changes after the excursion. "At first, I made a promise to myself: I would do nothing that was connected with the use of slaves...but everything I considered bore the imprint of black hands." In the war...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/2000

Category:   Literature

Length:   7 pages (1,634 words)

Views:   1199

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