Jacob Floren A Mercy Analysis

1333 Words 6 Pages
Alex Reznik
Ms. Galson
Academy English 393
26 October 2017
To Mercy or Not to Mercy
Mercy’s last chapter is a bizarre reorientation of facts which perfectly fit together into an explanation of civil society. The nexus question of Floren’s narrative comes down to the final pages as her mother explains the backing behind her decision to give away Florens and create a “mercy” given by Jacob. Florens’ mother begins describing harsh conditions of slavery as emphasizing even a mother could not protect her daughter. As her mother’s protection dwindles, she thinks of Jacob: one who was human in a time of animals. Juxtaposing the subtle kindness of the stranger (whom we already know will be Florens’ owner), Morrison describes the evils of the middle
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Obviously, Florens is frustrated throughout the novel about her mother giving her up to a slaveowner. However, Minha Mae’s narrative at the end of the novel illuminates why the abandoning of Florens may be seen as “a mercy”. Near the beginning of the novel we learn Florens’ jealousy towards her brother, who she believes was “chosen” to stay with Minha Mae. Through the analysis in the paragraph prior and the nihilism of colonial society at the moment, the reader is awakened to comprehend Minha Mae’s decision. Beforehand, Florens’ life falls apart when she meets Malik, the blacksmith’s boy. Morrison juxtaposes Malik with Florens’ views of her own brother (both under the protection of a “father” or “mother” figure, unlike Florens). This moment shows the perspective of a black women without a family in colonial America. Not only so, but it contrasts familial intentions communicated by Morrison through the inclusion of Minha Mae’s narrative. Although Florens never regains total freedom from a master, she progresses towards obtaining a true “mercy” throughout the novel. For example, she searches for the Blacksmith which urges her to become free from herself. Florens explains, “I wonder what else the world may show me. It is as though I am loose to do what I choose, the stage, the wall of flowers. I am a little scare of this looseness. Is that how free feels? I don’t like it” (Morrison 82). Describing the search through the forest to the blacksmith’s house, Florens finds freedom, yet does not know what it is, absent love. Although she never finds family, the process of searching for family (blacksmith) proves Florens is able to achieve “a mercy”. She exercises agency by wandering on her own journey to find the blacksmith,

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