Roots RAL #2

[Oh yeah there's a helluva lot of spoilers.  Read with caution!]

YOU GUYS! This was hands down THE MOST DIFFICULT AND HORRIFIC reading that I've willingly put myself through since...GAWD...who knows when!?

S'kay, Kunta gets attacked in the wilderness and captured by White Man.  After a severe beating, he finds himself in cramped quarters with bunches of other moaning and groaning Africans. There is this scene when Kunta shamefully can no longer hold his bowels that was gut wrenching.

And it's like this...I remember lessons on what slave ships were like.  But the lessons were stale, lifeless, unaffecting.  Hearing Kunta's anguish and being engulfed in the desperate and disgusting prose of rancid stench and foul excrement EVERYWHERE made me want to gag.  Oh and the sores.  And the moans of those injured.  And then what?  Dysentery? What was that gastrointestinal THING going on? It's a wonder any fight for life was left.

Yeah, that went on for chapters!  And then the ship lands and Kunta gets sold.

Man, Kunta.  Such a fierce spirited boy.  Of course he runs many times.  And gets captured.  And then runs again. Until they finally HACK OFF PART OF HIS FOOT.  Geezus. 

Kunta has a hard time finding his place amongst this New World experience. The other blacks on the plantation don't really trust him, or quite frankly even know what to make of him.  And Kunta?  Well he just doesn't GET IT.  Why do these blacks think it's okay to live how they do?  Why aren't they fighting back? Why do they seem content?  Big questions.

Plus, there's some communication issues.  Kunta doesn't really know the white man's language and is resistant to using it.

Eventually, he does end up making some relationships on the plantation and is even relieved because it's been so long since he's communicated with anyone.  And he realizes he needs that humanity.

Kunta ends up "moving up" in the world of slavery (and man I can't believe I even typed that!!)  He becomes his newest master's driver.  This is not a strenuous job and there's many bonuses.  Kunta travels, appears to eat better, and finds bits of fascinating information.  Also he makes this amazingly brilliant observation about the white man's world:

It took him a long time, and a great many more parties, to realize that they [the white folks] didn't live that way, that it was all strangely unreal, a kind of beautiful dream the white folks were having , a lie they were telling themselves: that goodness can come from badness, that it's possible to be civilized with one another without treating as human beings those who blood, sweat, and mother's milk made possible the life of privilege they led. (320)

Also? Yay that Kunta finally finds another African to talk to.  That's where I left off, peeps.  Until next Wednesday...

1 comment:

  1. I didn't put this in my post, but the book goes into detail about how they all had sores and exposed muscles and sometimes bones. If slave owners wanted the healthiest, strongest, slaves why would they buy a slave in such horrific physical condition?


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