Summary & Analysis Project

By Sarah Tavarez

This relates to the theme because everyone standing around the fight does not have a good heart or else they would not be there or would try to help stop the suffering.

Let's Take a Closer Look

In the novel Day of Tears by Julius Lester, Emma says “and that’s all that matters in this life. If your heart hurts when you see suffering, you have a good heart.” The chapter that stood out the most in supporting this theme would be “Charles and Sampson’s Cabin"
through the formalist lens. Three examples would be when Sampson comments on his son, Charles, wanting to leave the plantation, Sampson former slave owner, and how Charles explains his view on staying in slavery.

As a reader examines the book, there are signs that Sampson is not as sympathetic as he should be when thinking about his son’s possible departure. As he tells side of the story, he leans more toward the side that slavery is good for the African Americans in The South rather than an unfair way to treat a race. Sampson's former Master when he tried to run away and had caught him, tied him to the tree, and whipped him. He is afraid that his son will have the same outcome as he did when Sampson was Charles's age. Even though he might not act like he has a good heart, deep down it is obvious that he has a large heart because  he doesn't want to see his son suffer.

Throughout Day of Tears, especially in the beginning, has a lot of symbolism. For example, the name of the novel represents a whole day full of sorrow and tragic loss. Also, in chapter four, "The Kitchen," Mattie makes a simile, "My tears would be like that rain good sent when he destroyed the world back in Noah's time." He compares and explains that his tears would be as large and powerful as God's. Mattie would be crying because of the amount of suffering she will endure at the auction.

To wrap it up, Julius Lester made the theme of this story loud and clear, "If your heart hurts when you see suffering, you have a good heart." He had many unique ways of showing the theme through similes, metaphors, and symbols during all important parts of the book to make it more intense and heartfelt. While reading this in a formalist way, it is easier to view this story in a deep, detailed, and devastating way.

Definitely Not a Father and Son Bonding Time

Chapter 9 Summary

This is what happened to Sampson when his owner found him after he tried to run away.

In chapter nine, "Charles and Sampson's Cabin," Charles thinks about being free and all the pleasures that come along with freedom, but ignores the negative results of running away like his dad, Sampson, has experienced. Another character, Winnie, has always wanted to be free but now the chance is handed to her, she's not ready to take it. She is being realistic and has many fears rather than her husband, Charles.

Even though they would not have to take orders from someone else, they would not have shelter, food, and money handed to them. They would have a lot more  responsibilities than they would if they stayed. Sampson thinks that slavery is the best thing that has happened to African Americans.

Sampson explains how when he was his son's age, everyone would pray for death instead of freedom. They wouldn't have to live with the memories and pain they have been through. He is trying to keep his son safe and make sure he does not end up like he did. Charles does not necessarily understand this yet and only sees his dad trying to keep him from his dreams and a better life.

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