A Mercy Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What event does the narrator makes a reference to in the second chapter?

    In the second chapter, Jacob arrives on American soil and thinks about all the restrictions imposed on slaves and black slaves in particular. The narrator notes that their situation changed not too long ago, after a group of black slaves rebelled against their white masters, killing many of them. The event that the narrator makes reference to is most likely Bacon's Rebellion, which took place in 1676. The rebellion was started by a colonist named Nathaniel Bacon and he instigated a large group of people to revel against the governor William Berkeley. During the rebellion, the city of Jamestown was burnt to the ground. The destruction of the city is what pushed to governor to seek justice and to try and punish as many people as possible. Some people who were involved in the rebellion were hanged but most importantly, new laws were passed after the rebellion was over. These laws affected the slaves directly as it was believed that many slaves were part of the rebellion. Thus, the law provided the masters with the power to kill their slaves without being afraid of being punished while also forbidding the black slaves to assemble. The slaves were also forbidden from traveling and from ever owning guns and firearms.

  2. 2

    What was the illness that killed Jacob?

    After starting to build his house, Jacob got sick all of a sudden and died in a short time after becoming ill. The symptoms of his illness were described as being vomiting, fatigue, and blisters all over his body. While it is not explicitly said, it is implied that the illness that killed Jacob was measles. The disease usually affects children and many people infected go on to develop complications such as pneumonia and even inflammation of the brain. The chance of complications appearing rises in adults infected by the virus and it is implied that Jacob died as a result of complications resulting from measles.

  3. 3

    Why illness killed Lina’s entire village?

    When talking about her past, Lina reveals that he entire village was wiped out by a strange illness that first affected the babies and the children. Then, the diseased infected the mothers and the men in the village and slowly, one by one, everyone died. The disease is believed to have been smallpox, an infectious disease brought into America by the European settlers. Because the European settlers had antibodies that fought against the disease, the death rate among Europeans was much lower. In the case of the Native Indians affected, their chances of surviving were slim to none since their bodies had way of fighting against the disease. As a result, entire villages and communities, including Lina’s, were wiped out by the disease.

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