Summary and Analysis Project

By: Savannah Ade

Here we have a male slave and a female slave running away into freedom leaving behind those who controlled them. They are hidden and not seen by the patrollers who linger behind them. They represent, George and Rebecca, the slave couple who successfully escaped.

Chapter 1: "Nothing Will Be the Same"

The rain is coming down hard. Mattie and Will, a married slave couple, have been at the Butler Plantation since they were kids. Mattie usually works in the kitchen of the Butler house. Master Butler, the plantation owner, is having a giant slave auction to pay off his debts he has accumulated over the years. Some slaves cried and others stayed quiet. Will overheard that slaves will be sold.

Master Butler and Mistress Fanny had previously divorced. Mattie and Will have a daughter, Emma, who takes care of Masters daughters, Sarah and Frances. Will reveals to Emma how the auction went yesterday; where Wills sister, Selma, her husband, Bob, and their daughter, Charlotte, were sold. The weather continuously gets worse as the auction days go on.

When Mattie over hears the slave-seller say “this is going to be the biggest slave auction ever held in America,” she tells everyone she can. A slave couple, George and Rebecca, one of the only ones who believe Mattie, run away causing Master to leave patrollers around the plantation. It is going to be very empty in the slave quarters from now on. There will not be any story telling, music, or dancing. It is quiet as the rain comes down hard.

This picture represents a small portion of what the slave auction would have looked like. This is where slaves would stand to be bought, after being held in the horse stalls like animals.

Analysis: "Through the Eyes of Power"

When one examines Chapter 1: “The Kitchen” in Julius Lester’s Day of Tears, readers can clearly see how money is the root of all evil and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Looking through the Marxist lens, while focusing on power, proves this theme in various ways. This unique perspective will show how power can affect anyone.

Viewers have the ability to see how money and power changed peoples mindset. Master Butler had many debts from gambling, so he decided to sell half of his slaves. The slave auction occurred because Butler did not have any money left, but he did have the power to get it back. At the kitchen table he talked to the slave-seller as if Mattie was not in the room listening. Because he felt superior over his slaves, he treated them differently than how he treated other white folks. Being white gave him the ability to control others who were not the same color as him. To gain back his money, Pierce Butler would do anything within his power to get it all back; so a slave auction was scheduled. With these few models it is crystal clear that the Marxist lens shows how truly evil two concepts can be.

Overall, it is self-explanatory that the Marxist lens can examine the entire plot of the novel, Day of Tears. Throughout this publication power, money, and class had been seen, which is what this peculiar perspective is based on. An example of power would be when Master forces his daughter, Sarah, to go to the slave auction when she does not want to go. Looking through the critical theory, the higher class and the lower class are also easily discerned. The difference is obvious, especially when you look at how the higher class treated the lower class. If any of the slaves refused to do their job, did something wrong, or try to escape, they would be punished. Slave owners even had the power and money to control, buy, and sell slaves any time they wanted.

The Marxist lens shows examiners, in terms of power, how destructive it could become. This excerpt continuously provides evidence of the theme money is the root of all evil and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power and money affect people, and can lead to unwanted outcomes. Slavery was a cruel system and wrongly prolonged by these two elements.

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