Night John Slavery

1150 Words 5 Pages
`“ I was nothing but a child enduring slavery, but I had to work the same as any man” This quote is written by MIngo White, on his experience of slavery. In the book, Night John, the main character is a young girl, named Sarney, who is forced into working labor at a young age. During the 1700’s-1950’s in America, the system of people being treated as property to be bought and sold, to endure labor was a common practice. Even though, Gary Paulsen’s novel, Night John is considered nonsense, multiple sources corroborate descriptions of shattered family structures, oppressive conditions, and rebellious actions toward slavery.
Historical documents certify that the separation of families were common during slavery. In the story, Night John, Sarney
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In Night John, it portrays how human beings were forced into despicable punishments, both physically and mentally. It is described by Mingo White, “The dogs used on Bayou Boeuf for hunting slaves are a kind of blood-hound, but for more savage breed than is found in the Northern States. They will attack a negro at their master’s bidding, and cling to him as the common bull dog will cling to a four footed animal.” If any enslaved person attempted to escape, they would be chased after with vicious dogs to tear and chew their bodies into pieces. Similarly, in Night John character’s flesh would be torn off their body if they ran, and sometimes dogs wouldn’t stop until they're killed. It accurately states, in Nat Turner’s Rebellion, by L. Maren Wood and David Walbert, “The legislature made it illegal for slaves to preach, be “insolent” to white people, to carry a gun, to hunt in the woods, to cohabitate with a free black or white person, to own any type of livestock.” After Nat Turner’s Rebellion, multiple restrictions were placed on not only the enslaved, but on free African Americans. All the restrictions were unbearable, but it only made people angrier that slavery still existed. It is important to realize by Sojourner Truth, in the Narrative Of Sojourner Truth, A Northern Slave, “A cellar under this hotel, was assigned to his slaves, as their sleeping-apartment--all the slaves he possessed of …show more content…
In Nightjohn, Paulsen fittingly describes how hope remained relevant and crucial in slaves’ everyday life. Characters were put in an intolerable position, but still remain strong enough not to give their oppressor the satisfaction of crushing their spirit. Another key point is made by Northup, “In about three-fourths of an hour several of the slaves shouted and made signs for me to run...I gasped for breath-gasped forth a half uttered, choking prayer to the Almighty to save me…”. In this excerpt, it crucially describes how when Northup, a slave, ran away from his plantation, that several other slaves persuaded and helped him escape. To emphasize, their plantation owner tries to tear them down, however they still refuse to follow the restrictions placed on the enslaved. Assisting anyone who tries to escape, will be punished as well, but they still believed in hope. Another harsh is restriction for slaves is praying or believing in God, or any religion. Praying to the Almighty must be done in secret, but slaves prayed to give them strength and hope at worst times. It notably states, by Heather Andrea Williams on her accounts on the enslaved, “She also recalled “pit schools” near her Mississippi plantation” Likewise in Nightjohn, learning how to read and write was illegal, and would get you killed. However, it comparatively states multiple times in the story, the importance of pit

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