Summary and Analysis Project

By: Tiffany Vibora

Slaves running on the side of the road

Chapter 11: Steps Toward Freedom

         It is cold and raining hard. Joe, Emma, Charles, Winnie and the baby are walking on the side of the road with their heads faced down. Charles questions Joe by asking why they are even running away. Charles is stating all the possible ways how they could get caught for being runaway slaves. Emma and Winnie keep quiet as they all proceed to walk on the side of the road cautiously because they are in fear that they will get caught.

         As Joe, Emma, Charles, Winnie and the baby walk, they see a figure that scares them. In result, they all attempt to hide in the woods. Hoping that the mysterious figure would drive right passed them, Joe reveals himself and came out of hiding. Joe was able to recognize what the figure was. He yelled "Mr. Henry!"

          The figure indeed was Mr. Henry. Mr. Henry recognizes that his name is being called by Joe. Mr. Henry tells all of them to get in his wagon. They all did as they were told. Mr. Henry drives his wagon fast. All of the slaves are unable to keep their balance. It is silent in the wagon. Winnie notices that something is wrong with the baby. Emma puts her ear to the baby’s chest as Winnie begins to cry. The baby is dead.

The author used literary terms to make the reader feel as if they were in the story. In the novel, Lester describes how aggressive the rain was multiple times throughout the story.

Analysis: "Experiencing Slavery With the Characters"

          When one goes through a life changing experience, it could change how one views life. Slavery definitely impacted many of the victims after it ended. As readers view Julius Lester’s novel Day of Tears through a formalist lens, one can understand what Lester is trying to say by reading the text how it is. This is shown in Chapter 11: “On the Road”.

           In “On the Road” viewers are able to comprehend what the author is trying to say by adding literary terms. Slavery was wrong and a majority of slaves were treated with no respect. Lester uses weather, literary terms and places to describe what it was like to be a slave during this time. In the beginning of the chapter,  the author immediately personifies the rain by saying that the rain came down so hard it stung. The rain symbolized how negative slavery was. All of the slaves desperately wanted to cross the river because it would be a step towards getting their freedom. Lester did not just come out and say what happened. The author made you feel as how the slaves would've felt if they knew they were a step closer to receiving their freedom. Viewing this section through a formalist perspective can make the viewer feel as if they were a victim of slavery.

           Overall, Day of Tears seen through a formalist perspective can make one better understand the story. The author uses vivid imagery to reveal happiness and the depressing points in the story. With the use of literary terms, readers comprehend the feeling in each section of the book. The way the author describes how hard the rain poured made the reader feel as if one were actually in the scene experiencing the sadness and sorrow of the slave auction or slavery itself. Without the literary terms, the author would just be telling what happened, not showing.

           The formalist lens shows readers what had happen during the events throughout the story. The use of literary terms affect how the reader reads the excerpt. It makes the viewer comprehend the text better with the use of vivid imagery to reveal happiness and the depressing points of the story.

           Reading the novel, Day of Tears through a formalist perspective can make the viewer comprehend the text better with the use of vivid imagery to reveal happiness and sadness of the story. The author would be telling the story instead of showing if there were no literary terms.

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