Summary & Analysis Project

by: Rachel Marrero

Mattie standing in the kitchen after finding out about Master selling Emma.

    The chapter starts off with Mattie cooking in the kitchen. Sarah was screaming from down the road, "Papa sold Emma! Papa sold Emma!" Mattie ran outside and saw her husband crying for the first time. He didn't even cry when his parents died. Sarah ran into Will and Mattie's arms and they all cried together. Master took Sarah inside while everyone started to get ready for the banquet celebrating all the money he made from selling his slaves. That night, Mattie thought of how she wasn't going to go to sleep because she's too focused on how far she was from Emma.

    The next day, Master Butler apologized to Mattie for selling Emma. She told him how her mother nursed him and her at the same time and how they were almost like brother and sister but now he's changed. Master turned away and left her so she decided to spit repeatedly into the mashed potatoes. Out in the dinning room, everyone knows how upset Will was but there was nothing he could do about it, except do what he was trained to do. If he didn't pretend to be happy, Master might have sold him to someone sitting at the table just like Emma and then Mattie would loose her whole family in one day. He thinks about talking to his pure African friend Isaac about casting a spell on Master Butler to kill him.

    Later that night in the kitchen, Master wakes Sarah up. She tells him that she hates him repeatedly and that she is going to sleep with Mattie and Will that night. Mattie try's to tell her how the quarters isn't a comfortable place for her to sleep but she doesn't care. Her father threatens to beat her with his razor strop so hard that she wont be able to walk for a week. Sarah then brought up her mother and how she would have never married him if she knew how mean he was. Then he told her that mother would have done the same thing.

This symbolizes God's tears.

     Readers looking at Chapter 7 “The Kitchen” in Day of Tears through the formalist lens would find out that Lester’s novel provides an interesting perspective on slave trade. It displays whites and blacks alike having “good hearts”. In the words of Emma, “and that’s all that matters in this life. If your heart hurts when you see suffering, you have a good heart.”

     This chapter includes many types of irony. For example, when the coach arrives home Sarah runs to Mattie, the slave, to cry in her arms rather than her father, Master. In most cases you would expect a child to run to their parent, but Sarah chose to run to her slave. Mattie has taken care of Sarah and the rest of the Butler's as if they were her family. Mattie is a very kind-hearted slave and in this chapter Master Butler betrays her by selling Emma at the auction.  

     In the novel the biggest slave auction at that time is happening. Each day of the auction, groups of slaves are transferred from their homes to be sold to distant places. On the first day of the auction it begins to rain.The rain continues throughout the whole slave auction. The rain symbolizes God's tears. Each day one is sold, he continues to cry; however, on the last day of the auction God ceases to cry anymore.

     In conclusion, viewing the story through the formalist perspective gives one a better understanding of the story. It gives things like the rain an important meaning to the story and it analyses it by the actual text, not on power or a woman's perspective. The novel also shows how people are not what you expected and can change into a person you never knew.

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