Summary & Analysis

By: Amber Castellano

A typical dining room where a slave would serve their Master and Master's family

Chapter 2 "The Truth About it All"

       In Chapter 2 of the novel, Day of Tears, the characters are Master Butler and his daughters Sarah and Frances, a slaved women named Mattie, and the Slave-seller. Master Butler is relieved that the slave auction is almost over because he can not bare to sell anymore of his slaves. He has many memories with the slaves but he has no other choice but to sell them to pay off his gambling debt. Master Butler feels that slaves are different than the whites because they show no emotion, especially when the auctioneers are selling the children separate from the parents.

       Master decides to have Emma accompany, him and his daughters to the slave auction. When Emma’s mom, Mattie, hears the news she gets scared. She is afraid that Master plans on selling her daughter without her knowing. Slaves depend on knowing what the whites were thinking and at this moment Mattie does not know what is going through Master Butler’s head. The slave seller that accompanies Master in the dining room is watching Emma as if he has a plan in mind for her at the auction.

     The slave seller assumes that after the slave auction, his reputation is going to go through the roof.his secret to his successful auctioning is to make the buyers think what he's  selling is the best of all. In his opinion Emma is worth $400 to $500 but Master BUtler refuses to sell her.

       Sarah, the Master’s oldest daughter, does not enjoy going to the slave auctions. Her Mom and Dad would argue a lot about the slaves. It was either about owning slaves or about the slaves auctions. When her mom married Master Butler she did not know he owned slaves and if she did know she would not of married him. Frances and Sarah’s Mom was an actress in Europe. She was happy there because there wasn’t slavery. Sarah wanted to live in Europe where there wasn’t any slaves.

       Frances, Master Butler’s other daughter, is overwhelmed with excitement for the auction especially because she gets to spend time with her dad by herself since Emma is going to look after Sarah. When Frances spends time with her dad she gets to learn all about how to run the plantation, and about all the slaves but after the after the auction there won’t be many slaves left. She misses her her mom but not the arguing she had to listen to between her two parents. Frances knows that if her mom was around she would not allow her at the slave auction.

      Master Butler explains the types of gambling there is in the world. Also, he talks about the gambling he goes through that has put him in the position he is in to sell his slaves. There's two types of gambling in his eyes. The first type is gambling with the weather over deciding the right time to plant cotton seeds. The other type is what Master experienced which was gambling with money. He hopes that this will be his last time because he does not want to lose anymore of his slaves.

A quote that is a good way to show a slaves strength

With Strength and Determination

        Julius Lester’s view on race shines through his novel, Day Of Tears especially when one examines the work through a historical perspective. His portrayal of slavery and trust truly prove that strength and determination needed to succeed as a runaway slave.

        As one views Chapter 2, “The Dining Room” the viewer would see that race relations do change our thought on slavery. This is done by showing us that not all whites were terrible, but they are not nice enough to set their slaves free. In other stories about slavery, for example Uncle Tom’s Cabin , whites were brutal, and they would beat their slaves for everything, while in this novel the slaves were rarely hit. Throughout the years of being taught about slavery, the topic was brushed over and was never spoken about in detail. Once someone developed the courage to write about the true struggles that African American slaves faced, readers come to realize the reality of it all. America is a lot different than how it used to be when slavery was around. In the old America we could own people as if they were property now that is no longer allowed. During both times in American history there was racism, the difference now is that racism is no longer acceptable in America and is being pointed at various groups of individuals.

      When examining the rest of the novel through the historical lens a reader will find the true problems that slaves faced just to become free. Also viewers will still be able to clearly see the theme while reading the rest of the text. All slaves try to run away just to be free get so close but then they get caught. Once the slaves are caught they get the worst punishment ever. In the novel Emma and Joe have to find someone they can trust on the outside of slavery that can help them run away and not get caught. In this case they find Mr. Henry, who is a white store owner who will do anything possible to help Emma and Joe escape. Sometimes in life you have to do anything what you can to set yourself free.  

Comment Stream