Samples Narrative “A Fugitive Slave” by James Curry

“A Fugitive Slave” by James Curry

379 words 2 page(s)

In his narrative “A Fugitive Slave”, dated 1840, James Curry portrays to the reader the atmosphere of slavery. He brings forward a number of situations, where he immerses one into feelings of total helplessness and dependency that are experienced by a slave. In his narrative, the author emphasizes that those who have not experienced slavery directly know nothing about how a slave feels. Throughout the narrative, Curry paints the picture of what it meant to be a slave. Even when a slave would feel that he/she is indirectly included in the family, a punishment would come along, showing the slave that he/is a trespasser. By physically and emotionally abusing slaves, their white masters made them feel inferior. In fact, it was much worse than feeling inferior: slaves were made to feel absolutely worthless, like garbage. They were used like machines and their human feelings were disregarded by those whom they served.

In the first part, Curry tells the reader his mother’s story. He explains how hard she worked. Not only did she have to raise the slaveholder’s children, but she also had to care for the slaves’ children, while their mothers and fathers were working in the fields. What surprised me the most in this story was that despite Curry’s mother doing so much for the family, they still regarded her as someone who did not deserve any respect. I was deeply moved by the part where James Curry tells us about his mother being beaten by her master and his daughter, whom she basically raised: “He beat her fifteen or twenty strokes, and then called his daughter and told her to take her satisfaction of her” (Curry). According to Plous and Williams despite slavery having been abolished, the interracial conflict is still going strong, with an estimated 20% of American public expressing “a belief that blacks are innately inferior” (811). The question I would like to raise here, is: have we really overcome slavery or does it still persist in numerous social stereotypes, basically, in our minds?

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  • Curry, James. Narrative of James Curry: A Fugitive Slave. The Liberator, 10 Jan. 1840,
  • Plous, S., & and Williams. “Racial Stereotypes from the Days of American Slavery: A Continuing Legacy.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 25.9 (1995): 795-817. Print.