Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Brenna Wade
March 8, 2006
Engl 212
Oroonoko Essay

“Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave” is persuasive as an abolitionist document in a number of ways. Page 2217 shows the treatment of slave’s during the time period, “it was not for days, months, years, but for eternity; there was no end to be of their misfortunes. They suffered not like men… but like dogs that loved the whip and bell and fawned the more they were beaten”. These slaves were dehumanized from the regular qualities that men possessed and thought of as animals whose main purpose is to work for the white men. They “suffered the infamous…till blood trickled from all parts of their body…” showing how much they were put through. Caesar tried to tell the slaves that “there was no faith in the white man” (2320) but they liked and looked up to them, showing the way that white men were perceived as ideal and the norm. Caesar was beat “in a most deplorable and inhuman manner, rending the very flesh of his bones” he almost fainted “with loss of blood from a thousand wounds all over his body”. Behn is using the book as a means for people to learn more about the way that slaves were treated during the time and also does so in a way to make the readers feel as though they were there.
This book reinforced traditional stereotypes of Africans being treated as “the Other” because in every instance they are shown as inferior to the white man. The white people show power and rule the slaves, dictating every part of their lives. They have their own alternative culture as Caesar saw and compared their nakedness with his clothed body and when he spoke on their behalf and they thought of him as a great leader. The white men show their quality of showing discipline by beating the slaves until they bleed. The way that they view the Africans is similar to that of how America views the Oriental. America has the mindset that it is superior to these other cultures and therefore Americans believe they can control the Africans and use them as a means to make their own lives better.

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