Summary and Analysis Project
By: George Amesquita
"The Rainy Auction"
The book begins with three straight days of rain. Mattie and Will, who are married to each other and born into slavery by their parents being slaves and growing up with Master Butler who now owns them, watched the rain as it started up as the auction began. As the slave seller called up the first slave to be sold the clouds turned black and lightning began. Thunder roared throughout the sky. Mattie who has served the Butler family as long as she can remember stood in the kitchen fixing breakfast and before her was her mother. That was the time Ransom, Master's Butlers father. Now, Master Butler is selling off his slaves to pay off his debt he owes from losing so much money playing cards. The slave auction brought slave owners from across the states, selling as quick as the slave seller could get them on the block. "Some slaves cried, others cried on the inside, while a few looked dead." said Will.
The Butler plantation slaves used to be the envy of all slaves of the surrounding area. Slaves on the Butler plantation are treated like family,since the head ofthe plantation grew up with the slaves. Master Butler learned hoe to fish and hunt possum from Will. Master Butler used to look up to Will as an older brother and Will saved his life once, if not for Will Master Butler would have drowned in the river. That's in the past and now, since the Master Butler and the Mistress divorced. To pay off his debt he will sell 429 slaves. Master Butler plans on taking Frances and Sarah Butler to the auction which if the Mistress was there he would not do that. The Mistress left Master Butler about a year ago.
At nights in between auctions you could hear crying in the quarters about slaves that were sold and slaves going to be sold the next day. Master Butler told his slaves that families would not be separated, but he did not keep his word because Will's sister and her husband were sold to one owner and their daughter was sold to another owner. Charlotte the daughter was like a sister to Emma since neither of them had sisters. Slaves feared that they would be separated from ones they love so one couple named George and Rebecca ran away and did not get caught by Phillip's dogs the Master Butler sent to catch them. Ezekiel is one of the Master Butler's slave that when he starts to play his fiddle people just want to get up and dance.
Julius Lester's perspective on race and power is shown in his novel "Day of Tears", through the Marxist lens of power struggle and class. Through his work it clearly shows who has money and power, and what type of person are they. What social classes do the characters represent. Last, how do the different classes conflict and interact. Though the truth lies in, while money can buy the flesh of another, a large plantation or fancy clothes, it cannot buy true happiness or contentment.
Lester's book shows that the people with money and power are slave owners and people who provide for themselves. They are the type of people who see the survival of the fittest. Slave owners treat their slaves as another object that has no meaning and can be easily replaced. Though that is different at the Butler plantation because they are treated like family until Master Butler had to pay off his debt by selling his own slaves.
The social classes the character represent are the wealthy and the poor. The strongest and the weak. The owned and the free. The mass majority are poor, weak, and owned by others, because they are slaves that by law have no rights to even be human. Though the other side lives off of their suffering and hardworking to live in a lavish lifestyle. Such as Emma who is a slave doesn't get served by others instead she has to serve her Master's daughters who are pampered and are treated like royalty.
The two worlds clash into each other by on other plantations owner and pets. Though on the Butler plantation they are treated as family until the Mistress left, so now they are treated as disposable objects and Master. They interact as one side is superior to the other and caring for each other at the same time. Though conflict does arise and brings misfortune to the family on how they react to each other to reflect their moods not caring about the other and how they are treated.