The Slave Literary Elements

The Slave Literary Elements


fiction, historical fiction

Setting and Context

In a village in Poland, and in a place called Josefov (a Jewish town in Poland)

Narrator and Point of View

Third-person who gives the point of view of different people, but focuses greatly on Jacob.

Tone and Mood

melancholic, romantic, religious, nostalgic

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist: Jacob , Antagonist: His religion and the Christians that were in the village he was enslaved in

Major Conflict

Jacob goes through a religious dilemma where he falls in love with a Christian widow, his master's daughter, but cannot marry her because it was forbidden in Judaism. The men in the village he was enslaved in also consider him an enemy and want to kill him was it not for his master.


When Jacob is freed, his love for Wanda grows stronger and he decides to return to her, marry her, and escape. When he escapes, their lives get in danger and Jacob fights himself fiercely to maintain his faith despite the constant threats.


"As Jacob knew very well, according to the law, he must avoid her, but if it had not been for Wanda he would have forgotten that he had." This foreshadows the ultimate love that Jacob reaches and feels towards Wanda, and that he will commit a sin with Wanda.


When Wanda told Jacob "All right, let's escape", she understated the risk of escaping and the plans that had to be done. Also, marrying her is not that easy for Jacob as she has to convert to Judaism to marry Jacob. She thought that escaping is a very simple task that will be done in a day.


Singer alluded numerous times to different books in the Bible and the Torah, to emphasise the religiousness of Jacob and his faith.


"Jacob's bed was made of straw and hay and at night he covered himself with a coarse linen sheet which he used during the day to gather grass and herbs for the cattle." This shows how poor Jacob is in appearance and lifestyle after he was enslaved.


"Jewish law, he knew, forbade him to look at her, yet he saw everything."



Metonymy and Synecdoche



"Caps of clouds sat on the heads of those unearthly titans." (pg.16)

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