November 8, 2011
The Book of Negroes: Essay Task
Going back hundreds of years ago, Black people are seen as a lower class, next to the White people. In Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, the author writes in the perspective of a strong, intelligent African woman, named Aminata Diallo. She writes a book about her journey and survival through the slave trade. During this journey, Africans are under the control of the British and the Americans. To begin, the British and Americans dehumanize the African people. Treating them like animals, the slaves are yoked by the necks, humiliated, and abused. In addition, the White people make it so that the Africans become dependent upon them. Knowing that they are not used to living in the 13 colonies, the Africans will rely on them to survive. Finally, African people are not as literate as the White people. They can not read or write, and are unaware of the lifestyle of the British and Americans. Ultimately, the British and the Americans hold great power over the African peoples.
The concept of dehumanizing the Africans is one way the British and Americans are able to maintain their power over the Africans. Taking them against their will and placing them in chains, the African people are down graded from humans to animals. “They were all tied at the hands and yoked by the necks.” (Hill 28). Chains are placed around their necks, as if they are dogs. Being treated like so, the Africans feel as if they
lose all of their self worth; “That, I decided, was what it meant to be a slave: your past didn’t matter; in the present you were invisible and you had no claim on the future.” (Hill 189). Also, abusing them if they make any mistakes, cause a disturbance or try to escape. “My moans were spooking the guards, Fomba said, and they were threatening to beat me if I didn’t give them peace.” (Hill 33). Here, Aminata receives threats of abuse if she...