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”The Longest Memory” by Fred D’Aguiar

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 591
  • Category: Slavery

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The Narrator of the novel shows how the slaves are treated Inhumane and are Inequity to the Plantation owners. The use of whips and punishment are acts of Brutality and as a Deterrent to slaves if they don’t follow the rules. Yet Whitechapel still Justifies the behaviours of his owners and fair and in doing so keeps some Dignity.

Genre and Narrative Style

Is the longest memory a historical novel? A novel about slavery? A love story? A mortality tale? Why did Fred D’Aguiar write this novel? What were his intentions? The longest memory is a historic novel of slavery, love and morality about the events that happened during the slavery times. Fred D’Aguiar wrote this novel to give the world a perspective of what happened to the slaves during this cruel time from a slave’s point of view. His intentions were to inform and persuade modern people on what happened to the slaves which were equal to whites, only treated differently because of the colour of their skin. D’Aguiar has ten different characters essentially tell the same story but each narrator has a slightly different perspective. Why does he do this? I think Fred does this to show the perspective of different people involved in what happened. Everyone had a different role and experience in the slavery days and by giving a little detail of each characters life it gives the reader some understanding of why things happened the way they did. Remembering (pp1-2)

Whitechapel speaks of ‘robbed intimacy’ (p.1) what is he talking about and why might a slave feel this? Whitechapel is talking about how he has no privacy as he shares a shack with so many other slaves, he feels as though he feels violated as there is very little space to do anything in. A slave would feel like this as they all share the same feelings as Whitechapel, isolated only to use their mind to do things where others can’t see. Why does Whitechapel say he will cry no more? Whitechapel says he will no longer cry because it seems as if he feels as though he is the living dead. He is alive but doesn’t want to be, he feels hopeless and sad, having just lost his wife and boy he loved as a son. What words are used to describe Whitechapel’s hurtful memories? Words such as Pain, Hurt, Crying. A sentence such as “the future is just more of the past waiting to happen” also highlights the hurt in Whitechapel’s mind.

Chapter One (fill in the blanks) In this, the longest chapter, we learn that Whitechapel has buried two wives and most of his children. When his second wife dies, their son escapes from the plantation. Chapel has earlier shown the subservience, obedience and compliance which is believed to be the better of a good relationship between master and slave. Deciding that Chapel needs to know his place and needs a lesson in obedience that would save his life, Whitechapel tells his sons whereabouts to his master. Mr Whitechapel says that when the boy is captured, he is not to be punished until his return. But when Chapel is returned after his father’s clues the searchers where to look, Sanders Junior, the plantation overseer, orders two hundred whips, refuses to allow Whitechapel to take his sons place and ignores all pleas for stopping. Chapel is whipped to death and the writing shows Whitechapel’s grief, sadness and bitterness as well as the agony and courage of his actions.

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