Narrative of Sarah Graves
This is a narration by Sarah Graves about her time in slavery both as a child and an adult. What is clear in the chapter is the fact that slaves had no rights and were perceived as assets and not near human beings. This is an assertion clear in the narration where slaves were freely bought and allotted traded by their slave masters. Moreover, from the Sarah it is clear that slaves were fully owned by their masters since one bought, they had to take in the sir name of their master. According to Sarah, this is the reasons she carries the name Graves who was the master to her husband. From Sarahs perspective, it is clear that slavery days were days of hard work for the slaves, and thorough punishment awaited those who went contrary to the wishes of their master. Slaves were there to safeguard the interest of their masters only a good example being the fact that an allotted slaved did not receive payment for the work done but the money was still given to the master who owned the slave.
Slavery days were also an innovation time for the slaves when it came to dressing and making a meal out of corn. The slaves had to shear sheep for the wool and spin it into a dress. On the other hand, due to the lack of enough corn mills, they had invented a way of rubbing the corns using a tin full of holes which acted like the grist mills. Moreover, because slaved were owned, master's whipping was a common phenomenon. 'Cat-O-nine tails' was the standard tool used to whip the slave that left huge bloody marking on their backs. In summation, it is clear that slavery presented a time where slaves were overworked, had no rights, belonged to their masters and were always at their disposal. Besides, it was a time that is one was a slave, ones welfare totality depended on the nature of your master. However, despite how good or worse a master was, one thing was common, hard work without corresponding pay that demanded loyalty whether working directly for your master or allotted to another master.
The New Master and Mistress
This is a narration of the slave trade from Linda who was a slave. From the narration, slaves had no rights, and their masters used them to their satisfaction. The interest of the masters prevailed at all the time despite the slaves facing enormous challenges that warranted some time off. This was the case when Lindas father dies, and she was forced to go and fetch flowers for her Mistress despite the same day being the day to rest her father. Moreover, slaves were perceived as commodities and a phenomenon as evident with the death of Lindas father where Linda points out that this did not bother the master Dr. Flint or the mistress. Another aspect brought out is the fact that slavery also entailed a lot of uncalled for punishment. Despite Lindas grandmother being a loyal servant and her mistress promising her freedom, this was never honored by the Flint, and she was put up for sales just like the other servants. Moreover, another pointing case is where a slave was punished for confronting the master on having an affair with his wife.
The Flint treatment on his cook was another case where the brutality of the slave trade is outlined where she forced a woman to eat a mush which he argued not to have been cooked well. Moreover, Mrs. Flint used to spit on the food after their share had been served to make sure that the slaves had nothing to eat. She also used to count the number of biscuits to make sure that the slaves did not in any care indulge themselves on them. The harsh treatment is also evident when a slave dies after giving birth to a child by the Flint and despite the girl dying, Mrs. Flint is all smiling in addition to her arguing that the girl deserved that as a punishment. It is thus clear that to the masters, and mistresses, slaves were just social and economic commodities that were supposed to be used in the line of making their life comfortable.
The Trials of Girlhood
In a continuation, Linda outlines her experience in girlhood where her Master started making uncomfortable moves on her. However, despite these harassments, she still had no choice but continue serving her master. It was his intention that one day Linda would submit herself to his desires explicitly mentioning to her that she could not do anything to about it since he owned her. This is a clear illustration of how commoditized the slaves were where their masters had a free pass on them. Moreover, to illustrate on how vulnerable the slaves were, Flints behavior was apparent to other slaves, but no one dared to confront him or help Linda since to them, this was an everyday norm by Flint. Besides, if any slave dared raised the alarm on any action from the masters, a high-level punishment was invertible.
The Mistress who was in a position to help the weak in the community was not helpful since to her all the beautiful girls with a slave tag attractive only one feeling, jealousy. According to her, this brought competition as jealousy outbreaks were common from the mistress even in front of young black slave girls. There was, therefore, a great feeling of helplessness among the beautiful slave girls who had nowhere to seek help from their masters utterances that were very graphical for the young minds as it was the case with Linda where Flint whispering brought about unclean images. This analogy clearly points out that during the slavery, the masters and mistresses were free to use their slaves and their children to their gratification since there were no rules that cautioned them against such treatments.
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The Jealous Mistress
As the title of the chapter indicates, Linda paints a picture of a slave living with a jealous mistress from a person point of view. Due to her continued protection by her Master, her Mistress became fully enraged and forced her into a sworn confession where she presented Flint persistent harassment. This was necessitated when Mrs. Flint heard that it was Flint intention to ensure that Linda slept in his room. This action formed a time that Linda continues to remember one of the most torturous time as a slave. She did wake up in the middle of the night and found Mrs. Flint was staring at her or even sometimes pretending to be Flint to try and trick her into revealing the what and how they talk with her husband. It is these approaches from Mrs. Flint that made Linda fear for her life, but on the other hand, she understood the reason for her actions, Flint was older than her, and she was the second wife. The constant back and forth between the master and the mistress saw Linda demand to be sold a prayer that was never listened to with the Master turning down offers even from Linda grandmother. The argument was that Linda was Flint daughters slave and thus he did have the power to sell her. These were sentiments that angered the Mistress who felt that Linda was accorded special attention from her husband bringing about the aspect of jealous Mistress.
It is thus clear that slavery brought about suffering to the slaves due to the constant punishment. Moreover, due to the lack of cautionary law, the slave owners were free to use their slave to their pleasure even if it meant forcing themselves on others women and their daughters. Besides, it is evident that commoditization was a dominate policy in slave trade where slaved were perceived just as mere commodities that could be used in any way by their masters. Over and above it is clear that slavery brought pain, loss, and fearful life to the slaves who were always dependent on the goodwill of their masters for anything they had or needed.