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Written by Micola Magdalena
The hands of a slave
From an early age, Florens became obsessed with the idea of wearing shoes. She used to wear the old shoes her masters would otherwise throw away and even though they did not fit well, they did protect her feet from the outside elements. Because of this, her feet were not like the feet of other slaves, but were in fact dainty and delicate. Her hands on the other hand locked like the hand of a slave, with cuts and blisters all over them. This image of the damages hands shows just how hard a slave’s life was and how their bodies sometimes had to suffer as a result.
When Jacob discusses with D’Ortega, the later tells Jacob all the problems he had with slaves and how he lost two cargoes of slaves. D’Ortega talks about the slaves who died tragically in a very dehumanizing way, presenting them as being nothing more than just goods that can be traded for money. This idea was common during the time when the novel was set and it also highlights another important aspect, the fact that slaves were not considered as being humans by many and that they were seen as being disposable items that could be replaced at any time.
While at D’Ortega’s home, Jacob notices just how finely dressed D’Ortega is in comparison with him. Jacob compares himself with D’Ortega and wishes he could be dressed in the same manner as the man beside him was. The clothes are important because it shows just how much the people valued the way a person looked. The clothes are also a visual representation of a person’s social status and the clothes were usually used as a way or presenting visually a person’s social status.
When Rebekka thinks about her childhood, she talks about the life she had in London. Rebekka describes the lifestyle she had and the hardships she had to endure while living in London and the picture painted by Rebekka is an extremely grim and harsh one. Rebekka talks about how her family struggled to have enough food to eat or wood to keep themselves warm in the winter and how for them, every day was a struggle to survive. Because of this, Rebekka was happy to be sent to another continent if that meant the prospect of a better life.
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