Middle Passage by the Charles Johnson is considered as his masterpiece and has won a literal award U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1990. This novel raises a range of the immortal topics about relationships, daily life, work, finding own place in the world, but most importantly, it raises the topic of slavery and shows its ugliest underpinning notion: the enslavement of the inner world of the personality and the way it brought up and cultivated the worst human’s manifestations such as violation and destruction. The plot is told not without a piece of humor, and the storyteller is the main character, Rutherford Calhoun. The story has managed to show how the enslavement as not merely documental status on paper, but the enslavement of identity shapes the mind and evokes anger, rage, and self-destruction in person who once went through it. The human inner world is the basis for society and it is fragile and interconnected. Hence, the novel shows the worst happenings on a more generic scale such as the image of the town through the one man’s life.
The Status of Slavery in 1830-s
The number of slaves during 1830-1860 amounted to the third part of a whole population of the South. Basically, slaves were considered as a property and treated as such. They could be workers on cotton plantations or be a servant at the house of their master, and there existed a variety of jobs where slaves were used. The South plantations were growing other kinds of plants such as corn, rice, tobacco, and sugarcane (pbs.org). Even though the slavery is primary regarded as a sin of the South, the North invested in the field from the South and, thus, used slavery for economic growth and the development and industrialization.
There were several kinds of slaves, such as born from free parents, born from families that never had been enslaved, slaves that either were freed, or brought their freedom on their own or by their master and slaves who escaped slavery by running away (innercity.org). The ownership of a slave was not widely widespread in a sense that not every white family could afford that. Thus, one forth of families had slaves, and the majority of those could afford having twenty slaves of less (pbs.org). Thus, the slavery was a prerogative of very households on a country’s scale.
Slave-owners provided restrictive policy toward their ‘property’ which aimed to regulate their lives. It implied a prohibition of learning to write and read (pbs.org). The family legislation for slaves did not exist and, henceforth, men could not legally get married to their loved ones (pbs.org). Existed families of slaves could be easily separated such as family members could be easily sold to different masters. In addition, such situation implied an inability of a black enslaved man to protect his woman. Slaves were not able to establish contractual relationships, participate in a market, forbidden to insult any free man, and make visits to the houses of free people (pbs.org). …