Summary & Analysis Project

By Ashley Carpenter

The above image represents Frances as a lonely child. She recalls Emma and Sarah being close while she was often left on the sidelines.

                              Interlude III: "Needing to Lean On Someone"

Interlude III begins with Frances expressing her memory of the morning when Emma says, “Miss Sarah needs me now.” After, Frances wishes she would have said “I need you too,” but never did. She did not express herself to Emma because she was trying to take her mother’s place in her father’s heart.

Frances transitions into recalling a time in her life where her Papa, Master Butler, loved to play cards more than he loved her. Although he briefly stopped playing cards after the auction and his move to Philadelphia, he regained his bad habits. This caused even more gambling debts on the family. However, he died soon after his second round of loving to play cards came to a head.

Frances and Sarah were married. Sarah was married to a lawyer and Frances to an English minister. Shortly after the war, Frances and her husband returned to the Butler plantation and Frances soon learned that managing slaves was going to be difficult considering the war set them free.

Frances ran into George and Rebecca who had run away when they heard Papa was selling slaves. She then learned they were currently living in a cave and had a child. They sneakily received food from Mattie and Will every day. Frances was in shock as she portrayed them as loyal slaves. If they hadn’t left the plantation after the war ended, Frances was going to confront them. However, George expressed they left for Kentucky.

Frances was fed up with George and Rebecca. Those two kept arguing for Negroes to have all the rights they wanted. Frances and her husband, Arthur, did not want any part in blacks thinking they were equal and after a few years they sold the plantation.

Finally, Frances begins to think back a final time about watching Sarah on Emma’s lap that morning in their home as young children. She found courage to go stand where those two were sitting. That is when Emma hugs Frances. The three of them rocked in the rocking chair and Frances claims she could stayed like that forever. However, their Papa called them down and was ready to go to the auction. As they got dressed and went downstairs, the two children watched Emma go to the kitchen. Frances had no idea why, but she had the sudden urge to cry.

The image above represents how women took a stand in the slavery era and stood their ground. They stood up for what they believed in and took action to prove their power.

                                                Analysis: Women & Evolution  

When one examines the work of Julius Lester in his novel Day of Tears through a feminist perspective, the theme is evident: males and females alike were equally instrumental in the deconstruction of the institution of slavery in America. Many people thought that one gender was dominant over another-that was not the case. My examination of Interlude III will describe this theme as well as sections throughout the entire book.

Interlude III presents examples of men and women working against slavery. More times than not women take the back seat and let men do the “dangerous” work. However, Mattie and Will both were leaving the plantation to bring runaway slaves food every day. Mattie was breaking the stereotype for women and showed leadership qualities. Also, when you view Interlude III through a feminist lens, you see Rebecca breaking the typical stereotype. She speaks her mind against slavery and stands up for African Americans’ rights. Meanwhile, Frances goes against the stereotype in a different way. She wants to take over her father’s plantation and be head of the house. The difference is Frances wants to perpetuate slavery.

Throughout the entire novel Day of Tears, viewers will realize men and women both deconstructed slavery in an equal manner. In the final passages of the novel, Emma and Winnie went along with their husbands to cross the Ohio River. Crossing that river was forbidden however; the two women did not care about the repercussions and crossed. They went to the other side to be free. Also in the beginning of the passage, we learned the wife of Pierce Butler left him because she was against slavery. His former wife, Fanny Kemble, stood up for herself. She didn't let her husband take control of her life therefore, Fanny left him escaping from a life she did not desire. Another character, Mattie, begins the story in the kitchen cooking breakfast for the Butler family. She explains how her mother used to have the same duty. Thus this is yet another example of typical stereotypes within the work place.

In conclusion, readers notice throughout Day of Tears that females play just as important roles as males do. Women are not backing down which made slavery harder to obtain and keep under control. Analyzing this novel through a feminist view makes readers aware women helped the world evolve past slavery just as much as men.

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