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Moses As The Main Character Essay

1362 words - 6 pages

In the novel The Known World by Edward P. Jones we are immersed into an era of slavery. Because of this we are introduced to many slaves and many slave owners each one having a story that is a significant part of the novel as a whole, but I feel that it mainly focuses on Henry Townsend’s overseer Moses. This is said for three reasons, the novel begins and ends with him, he is continuously mentioned throughout the novel even when the reader assumes they are reading about another character, and finally his story is well connected with the title.
When being introduced to a new book, the first character that you meet is usually the protagonist, the main character of a book. Authors do this so that the reader is more emotionally attached to that character because they will be following that character throughout their story. The Known World begins with the layout of what Moses is doing the evening his master died, because he is the first character mentioned, it leaves the reader automatically thinking that he will be the main character. In my reasoning I said that the novel begins and ends with him. The beginning is obvious, but the ending not so much because the last story is about Minerva. I say that it ends with Moses though because every story begins to wrap up when he leaves the plantation. The majority of the end is about people searching for his whereabouts.
The interesting thing about this novel is how the narrator interacts with the story itself. Although the story does not change points of view between characters it does seem to focus on a certain character one at a time. This is difficult to grasp because the narrator stays in third person the entire time, sometimes it appears as though the narrator is a character looking outside of everything and sometimes the narrator is comparable to a college student doing a research paper for a history class, but either way the author breaks the novel into separate sections where they tell the background of or describe what will happen in the future to a certain character and they focus on their emotions more than the other characters when in that fragment of the novel. A lot of these sections do not focus on Moses, but even when the narrator is not in “Moses’ perspective,” we are still able to learn more about him through the descriptions in the other “character’s perspectives.” An example of this is the beginning of chapter three. The chapter opens upon Loretta going to Moses to tell him of their master’s death. The segment mainly focuses on Loretta’s emotions and physical characteristics, but she is talking to Moses which gives him a role. Through this section the reader is able to see how he and his wife relate to each other.
Moses again intrudes on another’s section starting on page one hundred and sixty-nine. This story is mainly centered on Broussard and William Robbins. Broussard is wanting to make some money in order to send back to his family in France, so that they may join him in...

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