Analysis Of Robin John

982 Words4 Pages
This novel by Randy J. Sparks offers a rare glimpse into the perspective of two African slaves during the late eighteenth century. Not only are their accounts noteworthy in detailing the grueling journey through the Middle Passage, but also significantly sheds light on economic and societal dynamics at the time both within their African state (Old Calabar) and England. According to letters Sparks discovered, the two princes Little Ephraim Robin John and Ancona Robin Robin John, hereafter referred to as the Robin Johns, were members of a ruling-class family in Old Town before they were enslaved and taken to the New World. According to the Robin Johns, the elites of their rival town, New Town, conspired with English slavers to ambush and massacre their Old Town counterparts. Because the Englishmen often suffered when Old and New Town were quarreling, they agreed to partner with New Town as Old Town’s ruler Grandy King George was notoriously unjust and dishonest in his dealings. During the ambush, hundreds of Grandy King George’s entourage were murdered and his brother and nephew, the Robin Johns, taken as slaves. What is most significant about the Robin Johns’ accounts is how knowledgeable and accustomed to legal principles and slave-owning culture (being slavers themselves) they are, having been educated and in somewhat intimate contact with Englishmen beforehand. Because of this, we are given exceptional insight into the role of the state and how it penetrated their daily lives; more specifically, we will explore how the institution of religion and Old Calabar’s secret society Ekpe influenced their lives and communities. At this time, the growth of the slave-trade economy in Old Calabar paved the way for countless new houses base... ... middle of paper ... ... household to be annihilated and they themselves forced into the very institution of slavery they initially monopolized. The rapid development of Ekpe and its religious tenets allowed for the Robin Johns’ to easily maneuver and alter their belief systems without little guilt or sense of heresy, which in turn opened them up to Methodism and led to their eventual release. It is important and ironic to note, however, that upon returning to Old Town, the Robin Johns reintegrated themselves in the Ekpe commercial system and reestablished their post as slave traders. They could not, after all, find any other means to accumulate wealth and although records indicate that they welcomed Christian missionaries into Old Calabar thereafter, the Robin Johns’ maintained that the institution of slavery was not illegal—simply the means by which they had been enslaved were unlawful.

More about Analysis Of Robin John

Open Document