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Slavery has for a very long time attracted the attention of many scholars, who have written about it from different perspectives. Paul Lawrence Dunbar in his article, the Ingrate has given an account of the discrimination that slaves encountered as they interacted with their masters. In this story, “the author narrates about the fate of a slave called Josh, who heard the daring whisper “courage!” and ran way for freedom” (Dunbar). By reading this article, one gets to internalize the slavery experiences from various perspectives.
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The story is primarily about a certain slave who flees from his master after becoming quite enlightened. After escaping, Josh joined the Union Army where he served as an officer. Having joined the army, he conspired with other blacks, and they fought against their masters who oppressed them. Mr. Leckler who is a noble man and Josh’s master breached the law by teaching him reading and writing concepts. Mr. Leckler, however, contends that his action of teaching his slave was out of his kindness. This because he did not wish to see his subject suffering and being underpaid. Mr. Leckler also justifies his action by saying that he taught his slave how to read in order to enable him defend himsel. An individual may wonder why Mr. Leckler made such a decision. “This could probably be the case because at the end of the story, he is firm enough in his world view that he can only see the slave as “the ingrate” who took advantage of his kind nature” (Dunbar).
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The story reveals the hardship experienced by the slave, and the grim attitude that the slave master had toward his slave (nigger). The author also discusses the events that transpired before the Civil War commenced, and he also mentions what took place after the war. Hence, he mentions the significant changes that took place after the slaves were freed. Apart from this, he identifies the abolitionists as one of the key individuals that facilitated the abolition movement. The story also reveals the cultural context in which slavery was conducted. This is illustrated by the nature of the relationship between slaves and their white masters.
By describing the conversation between Mr. Leckler and his wife, the author has clearly expressed his observations about the wily and covetous nature of the slave masters in the South, concealed by insincere charity and generosity. The author has also talked aabout the thoughts of both Mr. Leckler and his wife. In this case, Dunbar ironically reveals the culture of Mr. Leckler’s society, their customs and beliefs. The author examines the feelings and intentions of various individuals who occupy different positions and classes in the society. In this case, “Paul Lawrence Dunbar has given shape and coherence to material that has expanded at an extraordinary rate over the past twenty years, and yet he never trivializes in the process of writing a compact study” (Dunbar).
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The article focuses on slavery that was conducted within the American context. In my view, this approach of analyzing slavery is better because it gives an elaborate explanation of slavery in a particular territory. This is a prime strength of this article because several authors simply recapitulate slavery occurrences, without narrowing down to a specific context of its practice. The author’s theses are concentrated with minor digressions. Nonetheless, his arguments are rational and they are not so abbreviated. The story has an effective tone that is critical, and the author’s concepts touch readers deeply. Therefore, this is a story that acts as both a survey of the extensive scholarly analysis of slavery, and an original thesis in itself.
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