The Longest Memory shows how the injustice of slavery can trap both the slaves and their owners in a web of cruelty, destruction of relationships and death. This is indicated by the various different characters in the story and their diverse points of view, namely, the black slaves, Whitechapel, Cook and Chapel to their white captors Mr. Whitechapel, Sanders Senior and Junior, and Lydia. Throughout the novel, there is a continuous theme that the black slaves are bound and are unable to escape and pursue their dreams.
The slaves on the Southern Virginian plantation were treated differently from the rest of the society, simply because they were black. As Sanders Senior asserts," we are different from slaves in intelligence and human standing before God". The white captor's beliefs gave them enough reason to treat the black slaves without any respect, as then, black slaves were destined for degradation of society, and were not given any identity or rights.
They were beaten, whipped and made to endure tortures such as when an owner "tried to shoot an apple from the head of the slave at some twenty paces", and if the slave tried to run away, he would be shot.
Slavery was also internalised, which meant that the slaves were completely owned and controlled by the plantation owners. At one point, Whitechapel states that "freedom is death", and this is exemplified through Chapel's death, when he attempts to escape the plantation to pursue his love for Lydia.
Slaves were not even allowed to have proper names, and were given names in accordance to their job in the plantation, such as 'Cook'. Also Whitechapel was named after his owner Mr. Whitechapel. This further shows the loss of identity the black slaves experienced. Moreover, the black slaves were unable to...