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Slavery In Anne Warren's 'The Cause Of Her Grief'

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In the article, “The Cause of Her Grief”, Anne Warren tells us a story of a slave woman ordered to be raped and forced to reproduce. Warren first begins telling the slave woman story by taking us back and recollecting the slave woman’s voyage from her home land to the ownership of Mr. Maverick. She used vivid language during this passage to help the reader imagine what type of dissolute conditions she traveled in to end up being a rape victim. For example in the section where Warren attempts to describe the condition of her travel. She wrote “When speaking of the origins of captured slaves, we are often reduced to generalities”. (Warren 1039) In that moment she addresses the fact that as readers we often over simplify the idea of slavery and what it was like, we could only imagine. The author uses the words “captured slave” to set the wretched and forced precedent for the remainder of the reading. At this moment she is requiring that you imagine being captured, held upon your rightful will of freedom. This is important to the slave experience; they did not have a choice just as this woman had no choice. She goes on to address the conditions of the vessel on which the salve woman traveled. She wrote “crammed into the holds of wooden ships, trapped in excrement, vomit and sweat” (Warren 1040). This was yet another demand from the author for the reader to place themselves in the feet of the slaves. It is also another key element in understanding not only slavery but also John Maverick’s slave woman. She travelled weeks, sometimes months to make arrive at the given destination. Once the slave woman arrived to land it was time for her to be sold. Yet again we are now asked by the author to paint a more vivid picture of the slavery exp...

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...hose moments of violence with this woman, being raped by men who have no say so with their own lives. The more your read you are forced to put yourself in this woman shoes, to imagine what she went through. As you read the article you are forced to ask questions, to reconstruct the past with Warren as she pieces together this slaves story. Even in the lyrics to the song he asks “Now stop and imagine that’s you. Now stop imagining unravels the truth and asks just who it is happening to”. (Veit, “The Travelers” Lecture) In both sources imagination is an imperative piece to reconstruct the past. There is no way that we can go back in time, resurrect the dead and ask them are the things true or false, we solely depend on our imagination to make this reconstruction, which is why our imagination is important to understand and construct life during the time of slavery.
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