Summary and Analysis Project

By, Brandon Verrone

Mrs.Henfield recalls the barn fire.

Henfield recalls a distant memory


      In this interlude Mistress Henfield recalls the night and next morning when Emma, Joe, Charles, Winnie and their baby run away. Mistress Henfield says she was awakened by the sound of horses whinnying and the mules braying. She then looked out the window only to see her barn engulfed in flames. Then, she runs outside and calls for help, the slaves come out to help. Henfield also notes, that if it wasn’t raining she would’ve lost the whole barn and all the horses and mules in it.

         Also, Henfield talks about how the slaves found Sampson in the barn and that they had to drag him out. Mistress Henfield then makes the assumption that he was in there first trying to put out the fires but then was overwhelmed by smoke. Next, she explains how she was worried about Ruth but didn’t see Emma so she figured Emma was with Ruth. Henfield then runs inside to double check only to see a crying Ruth in her doorway.

         Finally, Mistress Henfield wake up the next morning to Ruth crying again. She gets Ruth and heads down to the kitchen expecting to see Emma by the stove and Hoe by the hearth. When she doesn’t see them she heads to the slave quarters to get Charles and Winnie but see’s they’re not there either. Then, it hits her that they all ran away. Then, Mistress Henfield states that she wasn’t gonna wait for the rest of the slaves to run away so she sold all of them to Jake Pendle. Later, she moves to New Orleans. Also, she states that she couldn’t bring herself to sell Sampson and he still lives with her even though the war has ended and he is free. in addition, she states that her daughter married a banker and had grandchildren with him, but doesn’t state how many. Lastly, Mistress henfield states that she doesn’t know what black loving white folk took them across the river but she sometimes wishes that their boat had sunk to the bottom of it and they all drowned.


Fanny Kemble searches for Emma and Joe

           In Interlude 12 Fanny Kemble recalls telling Sarah about the meeting she had with Emma and Joe on the street. Kemble only reveals this information after her ex-husband Pierce Butler has passed away. Fanny says immediately after their meeting she sent word to someone she knew who was either involved in the business of getting runaway slaves into Canada or knew someone who did. She then says that a  few days later she received a unsigned note that only said "The gifts arrived and were sent safely to their destination."                   Fanny then describes a visit she made to Sarah after the war. She says she remembers Sarah asking if she had known what happened to Joe and Emma and she responds by saying she only knew that they had reached Canada safely. Fanny also states that Sarah had even named her first child Emma. She then states that she contacted the person who had arranged for Emma and Joe to be taken to Canada to try and discover their whereabouts. She then says the person who had arranged everything told her there were several small towns in Nova Scotia made up almost entirely of colored people.

                 Mrs.Kemble then says that Sarah wrote Emma and Emma wrote back. Fanny then says later on her and Sarah learned that Emma named her first child Sarah. Fanny says the travel to Nova Scotia was impossible so instead Sarah and Emma exchanged pictures and even though they both have grandchildren they still keep in touch. Fanny then says she was moved to tears when she hears about what Emma's last words to Sarah were, that she should have a good heart like her mothers.

Joe, Emma, Winnie, Charles, and their baby cross the Ohio River


               Males and females alike were equally instrumental in the deconstruction of the institution of slavery in America. This is one of the major themes in Julius Lester’s novel Day of Tears. If one were to examine Interludes nine, and twelve they would see this theme to be very evident.Some evidence can be seen in the interlude “Fanny Kemble as an old woman” (a.k.a Interlude twelve) such as Fanny’s plan for Canada, the escort to Canada, and from Interlude nine, Mistress Henfield’s kindness.

       First off, in Interludes nine, and twelve the theme, of mutual gender responsibility, is expressed in many ways. One way is being how Fanny Kemble arranges an escort for Joe and Emma to escape to Canada. This is a pivotal point in the story mainly due to the fact that women didn’t usually go against what she was told to do by a man back then. Another example is, the physical escort itself. This point is crucial because it means Joe and Emma will finally truly be free. Lastly, an overlooked detail is the fact that Mistress Henfield was kind to her slaves. Everything about this breaks common stereotypes. For one, she was a woman who individually ran and owned a plantation. Also, mainly slave handlers treated their slaves worse than animals, but she gave them their own plots of land and even let them get jobs off the plantation.

               Secondly, it’s not just in interludes nine and twelve that one would see the theme, mutual gender responsibility. For instance, take Mr.Henry taking Joe, Emma, Winnie, Charles, and their baby to the Ohio River to take the ferry to escape. Mr.Henry and Mrs.Kemble both did a common thing. They both arranged a meeting with a middle-man who would get them to freedom. Another instance includes, Pierce Butler’s daughter, Sarah. She is relevant because if one were to look at her actions even from a very young age she did everything she could to convince her dad to stop owning slaves and running his plantation and even wanted no part in it. This is very non stereotypical of a girl of her age. When she was about 8 years old she already knew the difference between right and wrong and knew that slavery was wrong. Also she breaks common stereotypes by actually pushing her father away and not wanting to follow up in the business because most girls of the time where daddy’s girls and Sarah wanted no part in any of it.

           In conclusion the theme, males and females alike were equally instrumental in the deconstruction of the institution of slavery in America, is the major theme of Day of Tears. Also, it is displayed all throughout the book but mainly in Interludes nine, and twelve.

Comment Stream