Prejudice In "A Mercy" Essay

929 words - 4 pages

John Perry Barlow once said, “Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonwealth, our governance will emerge.” To me this quote means that race is an imaginary thing, and that there are no physical differences between any two people who are of different race. The only thing that is different between the two people is what they have learned, what they accomplished and what their interests are as individuals. Throughout history the issues between race, gender, and religion have always been seen as a social issue that has created great conflict between people. This topic is prevalent in Toni Morrison’s novel, A Mercy, which is set in the 17th century. The various voices in this novel show how conflict is stirred with the social issues dealing in that century.
It has been said that there is a physical differences in between the blacks and whites, due to their skin color. In Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia (264), “deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites… [who] only see the distinctions which nature has made.” The difference in color caused the formation of “parties, and [produced] convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.” With this notion created by the white race, controversy and racism was created.
Slavery has always been a difficult topic to talk about throughout the centuries’. The issue of race has always been associated with slavery. Ever since the begging of time, slavery and indentured servitude has been seen with a various amount of ethnicities. In the novel we meet Florens, a slave that Mr. Jacob Vaark accepts as a payment, Sorrow, whose father was a sea captain that was killed, and Lina, a Native American, whose tribe has been wiped out by smallpox. Jacob Varrk, who was a trader, farmer and landowner, brings these three women together to work on his farm. Jacob was first was unsure about being a slave owner due to the fact that he despises dealing with “flesh”. After thinking about it he decides that he wants to become an owner; and then decides that he only wants female slaves. His reason behind this is his wanting of “steady female labor” and is afraid of men causing trouble when he is not there, since he is “a traveling man”. Due to the fact that Jacob is not married, we see his first slave, Lina, doing the chores that the “typical wife” would do.
The role of the women was seen much differently in 17th century. Women were looked at as the caretaker, who had the responsibilities of helping their husband take...

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