Summary and Analysis Project

By: David Hyatt

The breaking chain represents Jeffery becoming a free man due to slavery being abolished.

Interlude V: "Cheated to Death"

Summary:

    Jeffery, after being separated from Dorcas, tries time and time again to escape from the Ellington plantation. The master says he spent more money trying to keep Jeffery on the plantation than he would have if he had just bought Dorcas. Jeffery considered that as a game and kept trying to run away. After the Civil War ended slavery, Jeffery leaves the Ellington plantation. Jeffery describes the mass amounts of ex-slaves wandering the streets.

     Jeffery describes the people wandering around saying that the were asking him if he’d seen this person or knows where their wife or husband was. Jeffrey was heading for Mississippi where he believed Dorcas was. He asked around for directions and eventually got to a town where some ex-slaves told him that he might find Dorcas at Ruleville. This was the largest plantation in the state.

     After finding the plantation, he see’s Dorcas sitting on the porch of the main house. As he approaches the structure he notices that Dorcas is holding children. He finds out that Dorcas had thought she would never see him again and she decided to start over. She married the master of the plantation and had his children. Jeffery pleads with Dorcas to take him back but she refuses.

     Jeffery leaves the plantation without incident but later on is drove into a deep depression. This is due to the fact that the love of his life whom he would have died for, forgot about him. Jeffery believes that he cannot live without her and most likely commits suicide.

This picture was chosen to show the suicidal thoughts of Jeffery after he finds out his wife remarried.

Analysis:

    When one views Interlude V “Jeffery” of Julias Lesters novel Day of Tears through a feminist lens, it becomes clear that one of his strongest intended themes was, “Do women act like women and do men act like men.” This is portrayed through the weak minded actions taken by Jeffrey after he found out his wife whom he had been separated from due to slavery had remarried.

    In Interlude V, Jeffery talks of how he tried to escape the Ellington Plantation countless times. This shows relentlessness which is seen as a common male attribute. Finding out that Dorcas had remarried to the previous master of the plantation she served. The action taken by Dorcas is a woman prejudice, that when women are alone from their husband for long periods of time they will begin to flirt or have relationships with other men.  

    Throughout the whole novel, there are examples of this theme. When Master Butler makes Emma take care of his children, so much that in a time of crisis they turn to her instead to their father. Another example is the man like ways of Mistress Henfield shown by her emotional strength in the slave business. 

    In conclusion there are many examples of the feminist lens being use in the Day of Tears. Also the theme “Do women act like women and do men act like men.” is shown throughout the novel.



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