The Longest Memory by Fred D'Augiar (about black slavery)

Essay by tidusfeverHigh School, 11th gradeA, February 2005

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Essay on The Longest Memory

Whether it is the motherly and caring wife Cook or the idealistic plantation owner Mr. Whitechapel the representation of gender in The Longest Memory comes on thick and heavy. Fred D'Aguiar constructs his characters through diary entries, memories, recounts and even newspaper articles allowing us to see them through their point of view and through the eyes of others around them. Each character seems to have at least one chapter dedicated to their side of the story and dedicated to their thoughts and fears. Each character displays their own gender stereotype and this is accentuated through their roles at the plantation.

On the plantation there is an owner, a head slave, a raped female slave, the son (the end result of the rape), the owners daughter and a host full of sub characters. Each and every one of them demonstrates a separate gender characterization. As far as the male stereotypes go we have the typical provider\ protector who tries to take charge of all around him.

We also have the rebellious male who wants to defy anyone and everyone and feels repression all around him. There is also the perfect example of dominant males, these males need complete control over another entity in order to feel superior and if anyone around them seems weaker they will taunt and belittle them. Then there are the stereotypical female gender roles such as the mother\ nurturer or the female who has a mind of her own and chooses to defy the pre-conceived ideas about slaves in her mind despite her upbringing. Then there is also the younger female who is oblivious too much which has gone on because of her age and therefore is only left to follow the attitudes of others.

Whitechapels wife Cook comes under the...