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Book Review Example: Driven Towards Madness by N. Taylor

4 pages
833 words
George Washington University
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Book review
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Driven Towards Madness: is heart-spraining tale telling of a fugitive slave in Ohio who faced tragedy as a run-away the story is an open book that shows the roots, oppression and treacherous deeds of slavery. Margaret Garner. The writer gives the readers an in-depth and crystal look into slavery and exposes the depravity and pain it caused to a young woman under the York of American slavery. The writer description suffering caused by slavery is candid and her narration of her escape plan disturbing. Despite the fact that the main character was a murderer her ending as an icon of misfortune and confrontation.

The writer based her story on black feminist theory and molded it with trauma as she narrates the violence, distortions, and legacies of sexual abuses. The story of the main character is a sad story where she murders her daughter to prevent her from suffering later as a slave. Garner had seen and experienced slavery, the pain it brought both physical and mentally, and that is why she could not allow her daughter to face the same.

Taylor narrates how slavery causes great trauma to its victims, she gives an apparent yet has limited exploration regarding research and writing. This is because most writers who had narrated the same story had ignored the institutions that suppressed Garner. Taylor, on the other hand, placed more emphasis on both the intuitions and the suffering that Garner went through under those institutions. In page 117 of her book, she quotes Garner choice of murdering her daughter as "mirror reflection of the slave experience that inspired it" Garner realized that she could not cope with the trauma that slavery had cost her and therefore she could allow the same to happen to her daughter. The writer builds her research on how slavery impacted on their decision both mentally and psychology and the decisions that slaves made after undergoing great torture. Her description of the experience that slaves undergo makes one assume that the slave body was a domination of pain, terror which leads to violent trauma.

Driven toward madness is a title that narrates a slave story from small farms in Kentucky where only 33 percent of the local population had slaves. Therefore, Taylor debunks the notion that the slavery was mild in that region revoking the original myth. Due to the fact, there was a small group of slaves; the owners find an opportunity to mistreat their slaves to a greater extent. The mistreatment that most slaves experienced was acute and disturbing. The mail tools of torture for slaves were the financial hardship and auction block; this is the reason why Garner resorted to murder has the last resort for her daughter to have peace.

The book Driven toward Madness by N. Taylor pushes the reader to ask several questions about slavery in Kentucky. Some of the obvious disturbing questions are what is the effect of trauma when one is enslaved? How can one reclaim what the enslaved women could be freed? How can the enslaved get justice from a system that offered non-during those days? What is the current world view on slavery? Are the current world agencies working towards the elimination of neo-slavery?

The book was crafted for people who have a special interest in understanding slavery and how it destroyed lives of many black American women. Garner was the first black American woman to shed light on the history of Garner. In her book, she rejects fictionalized images that had been displayed by previous writers and described the true nature of slavery and what black American woman slaves were going through. She was able to transform from a murderous mother to an icon slavery and oppression. Her description of Garner's story gives a holistic picture and makes one understand the real tragedy that led to her murdering her child. A motherhood that was shadowed with deep oppression sexual violence, abuse, and hard labor. This brought out clearly because slaves had no rights as humans and hence they could be sold and bought publicly. Buying a slave means that one had even acquired the right to have sex with the slave. The slaver owner like Garner's owner had the right to do whatever pleases him with Garner's body. At a time, physical force was necessary, if one refuses sex she could be threatened by threats of violence to coerce her into sex. During Garners time violence was unescapable thus that what slave's owners needed to get sex. Apart from sex, there were provisions for workload, family stability and quality of life of the slaves' families. The slave owner could ask for as a favor to allow one visit her family or lower her duties as a slave. Therefore, sex between the owner and black women slave was consensual. Sexual abuse was a privilege for slave owners since they could avoid conviction and execution easily.


Taylor, N. M. (2016). Driven Toward Madness: The Fugitive Slave Margaret Garner and Tragedy on the Ohio. Ohio University Press.

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