The texte we have here is an exerpt from a book by British writer Caryl Phillips who is of Caribbean background. Here he denounces the plight of the blackpopulation who were forcibly transported from Africa to America.
This passage focuses on the story of three black slaves before the American civil war. The scene takes place on a plantation inVirginia during the period of slavery.
The main characters are Lucas a 35 years old slave, his wife who must be about the same age but who looks older because of hard work and privation. The thirdcharacter is their daughter Eliza Mae, a young child. The mother's name is not mentioned as she is the narrator relating the story in the first person.
At the beginning the scene is set in Luca and thenarrator's cabin. Luca breaks the news of their master's death, wich implies that they might be sold to another master. Later, the narrator describes how she is trated by the overseer of the plantation.She is whipped while working in the fields whenever the pace of work is not fast enough. The end of the texte (L37-end): the 3 family members are waiting to be sold at an auction sale. The narrativeis broken by her recollection of the previous nights when Luca confessed how worried he was about their future and admited he would rather die than be separated fromhis family. She also describes thevarious groups attending the sale; thier attitude and the overall atmosphere.
The writter has privilegied her point of view because she is a mothert who gives an insider's point of view. This makesthe scene more moving. The autor clearly wants to arouse compassion in the reader, to make him feel outrages revolted indignant. This he makes the reader side with the slaves.
The sale is organisedby an auctioneer and supervised by the nephew's lawyer. The contrast between the various groups is striking and the tragedy endured bu the slaves. « lean-forced men » might also convery the idea of...