slaverybel Treatment of Slaves in Toni Morrison's Beloved
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Contrasting Treatment of Slaves in Beloved
Slavery has always been a known as a relationship of one person entirely under the domination of another person. One of the horrific instances of slavery took place in the Americas between the 15th and 19th centuries. During this time Europeans living in the New World enslaved Blacks from Africa. The White European enslaved many Blacks from Africa, but the degree that each master treated his slaves was different. This contrasting treatment of Slaves is portrayed in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved. The two masters in the book; Mr. Garner and Schoolteacher treat the same slaves very differently. Mr. Garner gives his slaves as much freedom as he sees fit. Conversely, Schoolteacher controls his slaves with an iron fist. The way that Schoolteacher manages his slaves is a superior way to control slaves because it is more up front. He gave his slaves a sense of identity, while Mr. Gardner deceived his slaves and provided them with a lack of identity.
The first master, Mr. Garner was in charge of the farm called “Sweet Home” before the other master named Schoolteacher took over. Mr. Garner ruled his slaves without raising a fist. He was a seemingly polite master. He considered his Slaves “men” and allowed them to do things that most owners wouldn’t. His slaves were allowed and encouraged to correct him, and “even defy him” (p.125). He allowed his slaves “to buy a mother, choose a horse or a wife, handle guns, even learn to read if they wanted to” (p.125). These are actions that a typical slave owner didn’t allow. But Mr. Garner was not a typical slave owner. He was a proud man, and very pleased with the way he ran his farm and his slaves. Some writers even feel tha...
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...eet Home. He realized that he and the other slaves had all “been isolated in a wonderful lie” (p.221). He finally comes to the conclusion that life was really was not better under Mr. Garner. He was a slave both under Mr. Garner and under Schoolteacher. The only difference is that under Schoolteacher he had an identity.
There are many different ways a human being can control another. During the 1800’s slavery was a common practice in the southern states of the United States and throughout Latin America. During this time many Africans were enslaved. Most Africans lived their lives knowing that their purpose in life was to be slaves. Others lived their lives with a lack of identity, never actually realizing their purpose in life and in doing so living a life of deception.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York, Penguin Books USA Inc, 1988.