Friday, 17 October 2014
I chose to write about Sarah Frances Shaw Graves (Missouri 87) because her slave narrative is really interesting.
"my mama, who was a slave owned by a man named Shaw"
Sarah seems to have been born into slavery as her mother was a slave which shows that slavery during this time was a cycle and would be nearly impossible to stop as there would be a new generation of slaves.
"owned by a man named Shaw"
This shows that during this time of slavery that some people got rich off of the work of others which shows that there wasn't equality at all between the slaves and the slave owners. This also shows that the slaves had no freedom because they were owned by others.
"We left my papa in Kentucky,"
This shows that families were torn apart because of slavery but the slaves still cared about their family even if they weren't in the same place. This also shows that the slaves had their own set of values that were mainly linked to family. It is obvious that many slave families struggled with losing family members either by death or moving to a different location. "Allotments made a lot of grief for the slaves,"
"My papa never knew where my mama went, an' my mama never knew where papa went."
This shows that the slave owners and people that were in favour of the slavery, didn't really see the slaves as people- only property as families weren't just separated but they were also not told where their families were. This must have caused problems when slavery was finally abolished as families couldn't reunite because they didn't know where their families were or if they were even alive.
"They never wanted mama to know, 'cause they knowed she would never marry so long she knew where he was. Our master wanted her to marry again and raise more children to be slaves."
This shows that the slave owners had a lack of care for the slaves and that the slaves would have no say in what would happen to them, for example whether they would marry again. The reason that the master would have wanted the woman to raise more children was so that they would also be slaves, and this way you would never run out of slaves, so the master would become wealthier. The standard of English within this part of the text shows that many, if not all slaves had bad reading and writing skills, which could mean that many slaves if not all of them didn't have the right to read and write and were not allowed to (as this would increase the intelligence of the slaves which would probably worry the slave owners).
"They never wanted mama to know where papa was, an' she never did,"
This shows how bad the reality of slavery was, because the slave owners never wanted the mother to know where her husband was which is cruel but at the same time it's only an opinion of the slave owner. However this text also shows that not only did the slave owners think it but they actually made it happen because the mother never did know where her husband was. This also shows that the 'white society' or the 'non-slaves' had the power within the society because they can do whatever they want to.
The fact that this slave narrative is from a person who was really young and was not only born into slavery but also grew up and lived in slavery, shows how long slavery lasted and had an impact on the people.