African American Slavery – Susan Quall Vs Dave Wade Slave Narratives


Slave narratives are an important part of the history of African Americans as they present the exact events and details as they happened.  The slave narratives provide a vivid and clear picture of the experiences and provide clearer details on how various activities were carried out on the fields.  The slaves give their thoughts and perceptions on the various issues that surrounded them. The narratives take into consideration the characters of those interviewed and provide a better picture on how they viewed themselves as slaves.

The issue of slavery has long been a controversial issue and has taken many turns in the last six decades where slaves started being heard. The slave narratives in this case provide us with a sneak preview into the day-to-day activities and lives of the slaves and the perceptions they had about their lives. Various characteristics are brought out in both narratives that depict the nature of relationships between slavery and the aftermath of slavery.  The slave narratives of Susan Quall and Dave wade provide an insight into the lives of the slaves of their time and the suffering they passed through.

The slave narratives presented by Dave white and Susan Quall are similar in the sense that they use a language that is not easily understood. Only fellow slaves could understand the language and make sense out of the incorrect grammatical sentences.  The conversation involved many grammatical errors that needed more keenness to understand what one was saying. Dave white’s communication was more legible than Susan Quall’s. The narratives are an important aspect of African American history that gives firsthand information about the experiences of slaves.

The slave narrative by Dave white starts with the Lord’s Prayer where he makes much beseeching and implorations about his state and especially that of the slaves as a whole. From his prayer one can know the plight of slaves as he talks of poverty among the slaves though indirectly. He introduced himself as a person who was born from slave parents, had been, and had grown up as a slave (White, 1933). The slave mentality still sticks to his mind. He came from St. Simon Island where he had been most of his life. He shows a lot of wretchedness and deep sorrow over the life he is living and as a result, the sorry state of affairs. In his narrative, he talks and expresses a lot of hopelessness, which he can only express in prayer. The call for mercy in the prayer shows that there is a lot of oppression coupled with injustices that makes the slaves suffered in silence. Dave’s narrative is different from that of Quall since many deep emotions are expressed and he uses a prayer to start the conversion. As such, the prayer becomes a point of releasing what has been welling up inside him because of constant oppression and injustice meted on him and to other slaves.

Susan Quall’s narrative depicts the various interactions between the slave masters and delves further into their relationships with the slaves (Quall, 1932). Show was from the state of South Carolina. The slave narrative categorically focusses on theft and the aftermath of the action. The slaves may have resorted to theft due to poverty they experienced because of joblessness. The women as a gender were to carry out various errands as put for the by the narrative. The women would thus take information from the slave masters to their counterparts in the field. The roles of women in the narrative are more clearly seen to be those of farming and carrying out various roles like being sent to inform other slaves on any issues raised.

Dave white does not talk of gender issues in his narrative but focusses on the general sufferings that the African Americans are passing through. He speaks of being born in slavery and still being a slave to the present. Quall focuses on the social issues on the farm and the resultant treatment they get from their masters.  Dave expressed his fillings through the prayer mostly while Quall gives various experiences in prose form.

Both narratives have the similarity of having many grammatical mistakes. Susan Quall focusses on the relationships between the masters and the slaves while Dave white focusses more on what the blacks were passing through and the mentality they had about slavery. The narratives point to the effect of slavery on the minds of the African Americans. Quall focusses on the treatment meted out on the slaves where they are treated cruelly especially where they commit theft among other actions. Both narratives have question marks where they may have paused and not known what to say due to maybe being drawn in a lot of thought on what could not completely be expressed in words. Both narratives explain the sorry state of the former slaves and point out the disparities that have driven them to desperately make a living even to the extent of stealing.

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