Summary & Analysis Project

By: Jacqueline Laudenslager

After Joe died in the Civil War, Emma remained strong instead of mourning.

Chapter 13: "Grandmother's Teach Life Lessons"

    In chapter XIII, Emma is now an old woman. She begins explaining how the rain at the moment was the same as when she gave birth to her daughter. She is telling her granddaughter about what happened after the war as they drink tea. After the war Emma wanted to go to Georgia to see if her parents were alive, however she had children by that time. She had two daughters and three sons. Emma is hurt that her parents never knew she got out of slavery and lived a good life.

    When Joe and Emma first got to Canada, Joe decided to join the Civil War. Emma knew Joe was dead before she got a letter stating it because “she felt an emptiness inside her”. Emma had to get her neighbor to read the letter for her.

    Emma’s granddaughter is at her house to find out information for a school report. Emma tells her about how whites and blacks died from slavery, the Underground Railroad, and that all whites aren't evil by sharing stories about Sarah Butler.

Without Mr.Henry, Emma, Joe, Charles and Winnie wouldn't have escaped to Canada.

Analysis of Chapter 13: "Breaking Stereotypes"

    To fully understand the theme,the path to freedom was not solely through personal courage, but also through determination and trust in others, in Lester’s novel, readers should look at the novel through the feminist lens. There are copious examples of feminist stereotypes being broken in “Day of Tears” that help prove the theme..

     Specifically, if you look through the feminist lens while looking at chapter XIII, you will discover a prime example of a stereotype being broken. Usually after a death in the family women are known to mourn and sob about the death for days maybe even weeks. However, Emma breaks this stereotype. Of course Emma is going to be heartbroken that her husband dies, however I believe she was somewhat proud of him that he died fighting for a cause they both feel so strongly about. The determination of Joe helped end slavery for future generations. If he didn't have the courage or determination to fight in the civil war he couldn't of helped us be a society like we are today.

     The theme, the path to freedom was not solely through personal courage, but also through determination and trust in others, isn't just true to chapter XIII. This theme may be applied to the whole novel. For example, in chapter IX, Charles was forced to make the decision to stay in slavery like his father wanted him to, or hurt his father in order to escape. Charles chose to seriously injury his father in order to get his family out of slavery.While attacking his father, Charles cried because it was something he needed to do even though he didn't want to. Charles was determined to get himself, his wife and his baby out of slavery. Also, in Interlude XI Mr.Henry states, “ was my idea to come south and see what I could do to help some of these [slaves] escape [slavery].” This shows Mr.Henry breaking a stereotype. Most white men in this time would all-for slavery. However, Mr.Henry decided he wanted to risk his own life in order to save his own. Mr.Henry had to trust other people to keep what he was doing secret and had to have the courage and determination to risk the lives of other people and himself.

     To conclude, while analyzing the text through the feminist lens you will find numerous prime examples that prove the theme,the path to freedom was not solely through personal courage, but also through determination and trust in others. In the past paragraphs, I’ve given three examples of characters breaking stereotypes which also help prove the theme. It’s important to look the the novel through the feminist lens because it helps you understand why people do certain things in order to benefit themselves even if there is a huge risk at hand.

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