Slavery In Nightjohn

1261 Words 6 Pages
Slavery is known to be a dark part in U.S. history, but why should people lie about what clearly happened? Slavery is the condition of forcing people against their will, specifically African Americans, to undertake exhausting labor for an owner of a plantation. In the novel, NightJohn, the main character, Sarny, secretly starts to learn to read and write despite the risks of getting discovered. Although Gary Paulsen’s novel, NightJohn, is considered historical fiction, Paulsen accurately depicts the slaves’ support between each other, their determination to learn, and their resistance to punishments in corroboration with multiple sources. To start, Gary Paulsen accurately explained the unbreakable supports between those enslaved that can be …show more content…
The persistence to learn in NightJohn is shown through Sarny’s excitement to learn the alphabet. Furthermore, John has demonstrated conviction to help Sarny and the other slaves learn to read and write by supporting and teaching them. Throughout the novel, Sarny illustrated many clever ways of learning like listening in to the conversations in the “White house,” which was where the owner lived. According to an excerpt from Heather Andrea Williams’ African American Education in Slavery: Self Taught, “Slaves would slip out of their quarters at night and go to these pits, and someone who had some learning would have a school.” Jones explains how some slaves snuck out to go to “pit schools.” This quote shows how the people who were enslaved decided to learn even though it was risky. Along with exiting the plantation at night, learning was something forbidden to do, so they had to be discrete when leaving their quarters. As written by Frederick Douglass, a slave who escaped and became a public figure, in his autobiography, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, “After that, when I met up with any boy who I knew I could write, I would tell him I could write as well as he...and ask him to beat that. In this way I got a good many lessons in writing,” (Retrieved from americanliterature.com). Douglass shows that he was dedicated to learn by tricking a boy to write for him to copy down in his book. Although it was risky for him to write, he still was persistent to learn. Surely, Sarny shows willpower to keep on learning to read and write as well through her curiosity. This corroborates with each other since many slaves wanted to learn, but some did not have the opportunity to. In summary, NightJohn correctly shows Sarny’s determination to learn that is supported by Frederick Douglass’ narrative and an excerpt on African American

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