Summary and Analysis Project
by Dylan Johnson
Chapter 6:"Believe the Unbelievable"
In the beginning of the chapter “ The Auctioning of Slaves continues”, the story strives on as the names of slaves and their auction numbers are being called and recorded, as well as the prices they were sold for. Although the auction itself is slightly vague in its description, the reader has the ability to imagine the feelings of being sold to strangers, and being separated from family and friends. As the auction in the story comes to an end Emma, our main character, beings to shes her opinion of Joe, another Butler plantation slave, and his new owner Mistress Henfield. Emma implies that although Joe has been sold away, the Henfield woman appears to look “Like a nice lady”. Soon after, Emma’s Father Will enters the barn slightly wet from the pouring rain falling outside. Will goes to find Master Butler as he imagines himself with his wife. As Will continues his search, his day dream comes to a halt as he begins to speak about the rain storm that lasted three full days and how it was finally beginning to let up.
As soon as the day finally begins to brighten, Will and Emma’s eyes wander to what seems to be a deal making between Henfield and Butler. Emma almost immediately becomes defensive as both owners gaze in her direction. Emma’s grip on Sarah Butler becomes tighter as she begins to realize what has just happened, and as Frances comes to collect her sister, Emma knows for sure that she has been sold. Sarah quickly begins to dismiss the possibility, she does not believe her father would do such a thing. However, as the reader continues to examine Lester’s award-winning text, we witness Sarah’s heartbreak as she is forced to leave her best friend and motherly figure Emma.The three girls quickly embrace each other, as tears gather in each of their eyes. Once the girls all seize to hug, Frances and Sarah slowly walk over to their father, Pierce Butler, who is now furious at Sarah’s resistance toward him. Master Butler forcefully strikes Sarah repeatedly until she can take no more and violently rushes back into Emma’s arms. Pierce follows after Sarah, now irate at his daughter, and his actions.
Rapidly, as Master Butler turns to Will and motions him to take Sarah, Will has a sense of hatred and hurt come over him,”how could you do this?...We was like brothers…” Swiftly, Pierce snaps at Will and smashes all relation connections by saying that they aren't brothers. Pierce also threatens Will’s position at the plantation. Will lets his emotions speak for him as he gives Pierce the cold shoulder and says “ I should have let you drown.” Emma knows better than to begin weeping and yelping, and she forces herself to be strong, not just for herself but for Sarah, Will and her mother Mattie. As fast as she can she gives her father a kiss and then Sarah. Emma kneels down and whispers to Sarah and tries her best to give encouragement. “You remind me so much of your mother…”, and as Emma’s words begin to fade, the Henfield woman comes to collect her new “property”. Both Joe and Emma follow the Mistress to her coach driven by a fellow slave, Sampson. As they enter the coach, Emma’s eyes venture straight to the window where she can see her loved ones clearly from so far a distance. They wave, she waves back and soon enough the sight of Sarah and Will begins to shrink and eventually fade into the new found daylight.
Analysis: Turning you back on trust
Julius Lester’s view on race shines through his novel, Day Of Tears, especially when one examines his work through a historical perspective. Within chapter six: “The Auctioning of slaves continues”, Lester’s portrayal of separation and betrayal truly prove that the qualities of trust between time periods of then and now continue to run thin and are not promised.
Throughout the years, many events, stories and mythological tales have shown an example of "back-stabbing" and betrayal within the context of the bindings. One large historical event that relates to the Julius Lester novel, is the story of Jesus and his crucifixion. The story begins when one of the disciples, Judas, is offered riches for the location of Jesus. Judas regretfully gives in to the temptation and reveals where his friend is hiding. This story and the award-winning novel relate in the fact that Pierce Butler did the same thing when selling Emma. Both Pierce and Judas were presented with extreme temptation and they fell into the trap. At the end of the Biblical section of text, Jesus is hung on a cross and eventually dies from extreme blood loss. Although Emma had not experienced death due to Butler's decision, her emotional thankfulness toward Pierce died, along with her respect for him.
Moreover the analytic sense of the story, a recent historical event presents the power of separation and its impact on life. Within the time frame of just two months, Nigeria has suffered a large loss of two hundred teenage girls, from them being kidnapped and sold into sexual and domestic slavery. A terrorist group called Boko Haram captured Nigerian teenage girls, due to the fact that the group is against woman education rights. When the news of the lost females traveled to the Untied states and other countries, the world was brought into havoc for the safe bringing back of the two hundred girls who were captured. This situation is a large example of the effects of separation when it comes to children and their families. This example is also in high relation to Emma's separation from her family. In current terms, Emma being sold against her will is an equal term to kidnapping. Back then, the selling of children and teens was acceptable in certain eyes. Now that the world has evolved into the habitat of rights and wrongs, this event of slavery and auctioning people is looked at as an outrage; As well as the separation of loved ones all across the country.
Finally, above all mythical tales, the tale of Medea and Jason has the closest relation to both separation and betrayal when compared to the Lester novel. Jason and Medea both violated each other's expectations. Jason had lived with Medea as her husband, and the father of her children; But Jason put his relationship with Medea aside saying they were never married, and that he was going to marry the local king's daughter. Medea hearing the horrid news, stormed off and ended up murdering their children and flying away, never to be seen again. Although many see that Medea's betrayal was greater than Jason's, both Greek figures were at large fault. Jason regrettably separated himself from someone who unconditionally loved him. In response to that Medea killed the reminder of her lost love and took Jason's love away from him. This mythological story relates to the relationship of Pierce and Will. Pierce sold away the only daughter of Will and Mattie's, with no realization to what he had done. As a result of Butler's actions, Will grasps a hold of all good memories between the two and he also deteriorates the connection by regretting ever saving Pierce's life. Though there is a slight difference in who is to blame between stories, the over all message is shown through each given text.
In conclusion, through history, although the situations have been changed, betrayal and separation are still a key notation within the lives that have been lived and that are being lived in this century. Judas, Boko Haram, and Jason and Medea all play a large part in frequent livings. Beyond the time period of Emma,Pierce and Will, are similar situations waiting to occur. Julius Lester's views on betrayal and separation have been presented as stepping stones to the world, but all examples given are used as foundation to Lester's message within Day of Tears. The theme of betrayal and separation venture miraculously through the novel and have large involvement and portrayal within the century of now, and then.