Essay on The Old People, By Big Woods

1042 Words Oct 3rd, 2016 5 Pages
Sam Fathers is a prominent father figure, teacher, and representation of an individual with a mixed racial heritage during the time period of the short story, “The Old People” in Big Woods. He possesses the blood of African Americans, Whites, and Native American, as he was born to a Chickasaw Indian chief, Ikkemotubbe, and an unnamed quadroon mother. Several years after Fathers’ mother was pregnant and pronounced married to a slave in which Ikkemotubbe acquired, he sold “the man and woman and the child who was his own son to his white neighbor, Carothers McCaslin” (116). Sam Fathers’ racial identity is comprised of several varying backgrounds, which have all integrated into a single individual, that being Sam Fathers, and has played a distinguished role within the existence of Sam Fathers and how it affected the life in which he lived.
Despite the fact that Fathers is only one eighth African American, and his “only visible trace of negro blood was a slight dullness of the hair and something else which you did notice about the eyes,” (117) that measly portion that defined him as a negro had tainted his blood because “part of his blood had been the blood of slaves” (117). He was obliged to live with other former slaves “in a cabin among the other cabins in the quarters,” (120) and he also “dressed like them, talked like them, and even went with them to the Negro church” (120). Due to the fact that Fathers’ contained the blood of a not only a Chickasaw chief, but a warrior, he…

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