Summary and Analysis Project
By: Kaili Koontz
Chapter 4: Time To Leave
Mattie is in the kitchen with her only daughter, Emma. She notices Emma’s eyes are bigger than usual. She wants to hug her daughter, but is afraid she will not be able to contain her tears. Emma describes her mother’s skin as soft and as black as night, and notices the big calluses on her hands.
Master Butler enters the kitchen. After telling Emma it is time to leave, he orders Mattie to get hams and champagne for the people who are coming home with him (from the auction) for dinner. Mattie suggests that Emma should stay, so she does not get sick, but Master Butler says it is time for Emma to grow up.
Master thinks about how Weems asked him for a price on Emma. Although Master Butler said no. he said it in a way that actually translated to “maybe”. He notices how his daughter, Sarah, pays more “heed” to Emma than towards himself. Last month, Sarah was crying and preferred Emma. Master Butler then takes Emma away.
These chains represent how the slaves had no freedom.
Having A Good Heart
Readers examining chapter four through a historical lens, would notice that Day of Tears, by Julius Lester, provides a message. In the words of Emma, "And that's all that matters in this life. If your heart hurts when you see suffering, you have a good heart." During slavery, the Negros were torn apart from their families, beaten, and emotionally destroyed inside. Can you imagine what they went through?
One who observes chapter four through a historical lens will acknowledge the scene when Emma and Mattie were in the kitchen. They were peering at each other for a while. This was a somber time period, and they were in the worst social class-- slaves. Emma and Mattie had nothing (no money, freedom, power, etc.) but each other; Then, Master takes Emma away to the slave auction.
While using the historical lens, it is effortless to identify the theme. Later in the novel, Sam Ellington (slave owner/buyer) attempts to buy Jeffrey's wife, Dorcas. When another buyer says $1,500, he apologizes to Jeffrey and tells him that he does not have enough money. Jeffrey begins sobbing. Then, Sam steps away and feels sorry for Jeffrey. Even though he owns slaves, he still has a good heart according to the theme.
To conclude, readers will recognize the hardships that slaves faced. Slaves had to deal with being separated from their loved ones, always being controlled by someone, being brutally beaten, and so much more. Most of them had to hide their feelings from the others, whether it was to protect themselves or the others. Does your heart hurt when you see suffering?