Summary and Analysis Project
By: Kayci Meyer
The Thought of Freedom
In Interlude eight, Sampson discusses his experience being owned by Mistress Henfield. When one of the mules kicked him, she sent for the doctor and made a poultice for his leg. He hasn’t been able to get around much, but his son, Charles, is doing his job for him. Once, Sampson met a man named Mr. Henry, and Sampson believes Mr. Henry told him something that made Charles happy and change his point of view.
One day, Mr. Henry asks Sampson, “Sampson? You ever think about being free?” Sampson thought he was trying to get him in trouble. If he said yes, he might have told Mistress that Sampson was dangerous. So instead, he told him no, and that freedom is too hard for a slave. Sampson also told him that he gets treated well by Mistress Henfield.
After he tells Mr. Henry that, he doesn’t say anything else. He thinks maybe he should’ve told Mistress about Mr. Henry. Mr. Henry also talks to Joe about freedom, and how they can go to the North to be free. Joe tells Charles, and that’s what makes Charles happy, the thought of freedom. Sampson knows that something is up but he is just waiting for something to happen. He doesn’t know what he’s waiting for, but he will find out when it happens.
Readers looking at Interlude eight through the Marxist lens would find that Julius Lester, in his novel, Day of Tears, provides a unique perspective on the slave trade by portraying absolute power corrupts absolutely. When one looks through the Marxist lens, one will see the text in terms of power. In this Interlude when Sampson is supported by the way Sampson believes he gets treated well by her.
One viewing this Interlude through the Marxist lens proves that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Some evidence of this is the power Mrs. Henfield has over her slaves. She made Sampson believe that he gets treated well. Mr. Henry asks Sampson about freedom, Sampson felt he had to say he doesn’t think about it so Mr. Henry wouldn’t tell Mistress that Sampson is dangerous. Sampson faces challenges in the role of being a slave and having less power than others. A common stereotype of the social classes of the characters determines who has power.
Using the Marxist theory you can understand the overall plot of the novel and continue to prove the theme. Throughout the novel, the theme of absolute power corrupts absolutely is clearly portrayed. For example, in the sections where the slave auctions are taken place, it shows the power whites have over blacks. Another example includes in Interlude ten, when Mrs. Henfield had the power to auction the slaves off. One analyzing the novel through this lens would be able to determine that power has a huge impact on the characters.
Examining the novel through the Marxist lens will help one understand what the overall plot is all about. Analyzing each other’s characters perspective will portray the values of the novel. When one looks through this lens one will connect to the social classes of the characters to determine who has absolute power.