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Written by Julia Wolf
Uncle Daniel’s story
Uncle Daniel, an old slave, tells a story of his life in his cabin. He fell in love with the woman who was also a slave and married her. After marriage they had a baby and it was “de dearest, cutest little thing you eber did see”, unfortunately, the poor child was sick and soon died. But, Katie, his wife, didn’t have the opportunity even to kiss her dead child, because she was told to go and work and when she came back, someone had already buried the baby: “An' my little baby has gone to glory, an' is wingin' wid the angels an' a lookin' out for us”. This horrific imagery shows us the severe reality of the time, when the moral values were neglected and people were made to work even if they had a sorrow and masters were just not interested what their slaves feel.
The imagery of the freedom is one of the man in the story. It is an abstract notion for the slaves, something they long to have, but still they don’t know exactly what it is. So, slaves were hoping for something they didn’t really know: “Was it a bright, beautiful dream, or a blessed reality”. This imagery shows the uncertainty and perplexity of people who don’t know what to expect in the nearest future: “Freedom was almost in his(Robert Johnson’s) grasp, and the future was growing rose-tinted and rainbow-hued.”
Eugene, Iola’s father was the only son of rich parents, he was petted and spoiled: “I was well supplied with money and, never having been forced to earn it, was ignorant of its value and careless of its use”. His life was fun, he had everything he wanted and did everything he wanted to do. He had spent the major part of his life out of home and when he came back, he had seen that everything had changed and there is something more important I this world than money: “I went to the capitals of the old world to see life, but in seeing life I became acquainted with death, the death of true manliness and self-respect”. He was sick, lost and broken and Marie was the one who helped him to come over it: “. I was sick nigh unto death, and had it not been for Marie's care I am certain that I should have died. She followed me down to the borders of the grave, and won me back to life and health”. This imagery shows how the man may change his values and become completely another person, the only thing which is needed is the understanding that careless life is the meaningless one.
American Civilization, its Lights and Shadows
Marie, Iola’s mother was a defender of slaves and she struggled for their rights and freedom: “During her stay in the North she had constantly been brought in contact with anti-slavery people. She was not aware that there was so much kindness among the white people of the country until she had tested it in the North”. It was her main goal in life, to see her nation free and she hoped that one day there will be n slave in the whole world. From the anti-slavery people she had learned some of the noblest lessons of freedom and justice, and had become” imbued with their sentiments”. Her theme was "American Civilization, its Lights and Shadows". She believed in America is great country but she never betrayed her idea that slavery must be declined because it was a “shadow of America”, the great stain on America’s reputation. This imagery shows Marie’s attitude to the problem of slavery and helps the reader to understand the main idea of the story.
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