Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Raven Culver Essays (882 words) - African Slave Trade, Literature
Raven Culver EN-229 Dr. Laoye 15 February 2017 Crossing the Middle Passage Caryl Phillips novel, "Crossing the River", follows three different Africans who have been sold into slavery by their father'. Though these three characters are not actual brothers and sisters, the time given in each individual story helps us to determine this, they all have the same place of origin, Africa. Each one of the sibling's stories are uniquely different. Nash was educated by his white master, Edward Williams, and then sent to Africa as a pioneer to teach the natives Christianity. Both Mr. Williams and Nash were not the good Christians they claim to be. Mr. Williams had sexual desires, and possible relationships, with his young slaves. Once Nash felt abandoned by Edward's unresponsiveness, he lost all of his Christian beliefs; he adopted the native ways and had multiple wives and lost all he was preaching. The second story deals with Martha and her unsuccessful travel to California to be with her friend Lucy and possibly find her first husband and daughter who were sold into slavery. On her travel, she is too sick to continue on the journey and is left in a town in Colorado. Though she is near death, she is still thinking of her main reason for travelingher daughter Eliza and first husband Lucas. The third story in the novel is told from the perspective of the ship's captain and is in a journal form. As he is on his way to Africa to pick up slaves, he reveals in his journal that he does not think the slave trade coincides with his Christian beliefs, though he must take over the business after the death of his father. In order to compensate for his guilt, he is forced to think of cargo, as he refers to the slaves (105), as cargo. His father seemed to feel in a similar way and continuing on in the slave trade business seemed to lead him to his death. The last section of the novel deals w ith another case of journal-like entries by Joyce. After a failed first marriage, Joyce falls in love with Travis, a black soldier of the U.S. Army, and has his child. When he is killed, Joyce must give up their son to the country. Though she loves her son and previous husband, she has no choice but to move on. Eventually, her son finds her and they are reunited at the perfect moment. The other two parts to the novel, which are a key to understanding, besides the three stories within it, are the epilogue and the prologue. One thing that I thought was very interesting about this novel was the places that each story in the novel went. Each different part corresponded with a part in the triangle of the African diaspora. We start with the prologue which places us in Africa, the beginning point of many of the slaves. They start in their native country of Africa until they are captured, brought to America and sold. The prologue talks about the, "foreign flag" (1), and "your bodies the seeds of new treessinking hopeful roots into new difficult soil" (2). This new soil is in America where the children are now off to. In The Pagan Coast, we go from America to modern Africa in Liberia. We know that Nash is raised by Edward and then sent to Liberia to pioneer. Here, he loses his Christian beliefs, falls right back into the African ways and adopts many wives and starts believing in the African culture and religious ways. In his last letter to Edward, he admits his wrongs, but says, "Liberia is the finest country for the colored manthis is a new country and everything has still to be created" (61). West goes to the Americas where Martha travels across the country from state to state, searching for her past life; her husband Lucas and daughter Eliza. She begins in Kansas and tries moving to California, but because of her health, she is dropped off in Colorado, where she spends the last day of her life reminiscing on the past. The whole Transatlantic Triangle Trade seems to be covered in the Crossing the River section of the novel.