As pointed out in the communist manifesto, the history of the world is that of class struggle. It is a struggle between the rich and the poor. The rich are always on a quest to consolidate power and continue oppressing the poor. On the other hand, the poor are in a perpetual quest for their freedom from the adversities subjected to them by the rich. The struggle is well manifested in the slave-master relations, where different tactics are used to ensure the continuity of these relations. Some of the tactics used by the slave masters in advancing their power grip on the slaves include using religious doctrines and dogmas that prohibit the poor slaves from questioning them. Also, using the ignorance of the slaves has been an effective tactic used to maintain the parasitic relation between the slave masters and the poor. Just like Douglass Narrative of life, Petras case exemplifies the emancipation journey a struggle goes through before becoming free.
All that is known about Petras birth is that she was born in a slave farm in Texas. Her exact date of birth is unknown but approximated to be during the period before the Great Civil War. Her mother, Sandra, a slave working for Mr. X was believed to have been from Africa. Little was known about Sandras background except for the nostalgic memories she had of the invasion that saw black slaves, including her being shipped to America. Rumors have it that Mr. X was the biological father to Petra but no one in the slave farm dared to talk about this for fear of being executed just like Alex, a black slave who had dared question Mr. X incessant sexual advances on his daughter. In the slave farm, Mr. X word was final and second to Gods command.
Being a young girl, Petra is not subjected to hard labor like her parents and the big boys and girls in the farm. She is assigned to light duties in Mrs. X house. However, despite her thirteenth birthday approaching, Petra had never set her eyes on any book. She does not know how to read or write. Just like the other slaves, no slave was allowed to read or write. It was a taboo. Literacy was seen as the only way to freedom; a privilege not accorded to the slaves. Religion also dictated that slaves should be submissive to their masters. Any attempt to question this was seen as a cardinal sin against the church and God. It is for this reason that time to time, Mr. X took advantage of the situation to sexually abuse her slaves and still get away with it.
As fate would have it, Mrs. X cousin, Mrs. Y, was to visit the Xs and being the youngest, Petra had the privilege of being assigned to her. Mrs.Y is oblivious of the slave master-relations and believed that all men are equal and should be treated with dignity. Out of her lack of understanding of how things work in the slave farms, Mrs. Y started educating Petra on how to read and write. She was quite amazed by the fact that Petra was a fast learner and could grasp complex literal material. It is the encounter with experiences from the books and discussions with Mrs. Y that opened Petras eyes to the world of freedom. Freedom had been an elusive goal for the slaves. It was incomprehensible to all slaves but after the experience, Petra gets to understand that the religious version preached at the slave farm was false. God had created man and woman as equals. No one was better than the other. God did not classify men as blacks and white. It was just a creation of the Xs to perpetuate their power grip at the farm.
Her new-found gospel that the slaves were suffering because of the ignorance and the conditions set upon themselves landed Petra in trouble. Mrs. X and the X were not happy with the situation and felt that she was a threat. An attempt to kill her is made but fails when she was informed by Mrs. Y of the plot. She manages to escape leaving her family behind. It is out of this reason that she decided to write memoirs on her life at the farm. However, despite her new-found freedom, she still feel for people at the farm who have not managed to break the yokes of slavery. Mr. X would still impose the false religion and illiteracy on the slaves to maintain his grip.
Who will emancipate the slaves at the farm? She asks. It is only through the power of the pen that the war against slavery can be wonshe writes in her slave narrative hoping that slaves in the farm would get the opportunity to read and write and become the best versions of themselves.
My slave narrative Petras case mirrors well with Douglass Narrative of life in many ways. Just like Douglass, Petras historical background is unknown. It is only an estimate. They are indications of the state of ignorance that the slaves are subjected to. They neither know their dates of birth and are all fathered by the slave-master. This is an indication of how the slave master would rape the women at the farms and still get away with it. Religion plays a key role in the perpetuation of the slave-master relations. What comes out clearly is that religion has been twisted to suit the slave masters perspective. False religious dogmas have been indoctrinated on the slaves hindering them from questioning their positions in the farms. However, the two characters accidentally get the chance to understand the truth about the falsification of the religious narrative after getting literal education.
Assignment Part 2
After a careful analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet letter is quite evident that the work can best be termed as a classical fortunate fall work. The concept of fortunate fall describes a classical Christian interpretation that claims that sin results to punishment and expulsion of an individual from the godly life. This results to much suffering on the individual. However, in spite of the punishment meted on human beings for their sins, they get the chance to learn on what it means to be moral and immoral. For instance, Hester is punished for her adulterous crime she committed while her husband was away. The scarlet letter she is carrying is thus a physical depiction of the sin she had committed. It also acts as a perfect reminder of how the sinful act has led her into a painful and solitary confinement. She even contemplates casting it off as a way of obtaining her freedom from the society she deems as oppressive. However, with time she uses it as an experience to learn from the experience and become a better version of herself. This is well evident in the quote: But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness. . .. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss (Hawthorne). The same case applies to Arthur who uses his fall from grace as an opportunity to atone for his mistakes and learn from the experience. Proponents of this view believe that Adam and Eve were in a state of childlike innocence in the garden of Eden, they had to sin in order to fulfil Gods plan for them to mature. It is for this reason that I believe the fortunate fall serves as the best classification if the Scarlet letter.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. digital.wwnorton.com. n.d. https://digital.wwnorton.com/7509/r/goto/cfi/1028!/4. 19 November 2017.
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