Mary Prince

Essay by ncasaleHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2014

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Nicholas Casale


English 2102

Professor Scillaci

Best Picture: "Many Years a Slave," Starring: Mary Prince

Much of the literature from the Romantic Era deals with people who consciously choose to remove themselves from the world in order to escape reality. Mary Prince however was excluded from the world not by choice, but by force. Unlike the, "Interesting Narrative of Olaudoh Equiano," where Equiano chooses to be less accusatory of the immorality of white slave owners, Prince explicitly condemns the cruelty and abusive nature of the slave trade. Prince's account is unique in that it relies on vivid imagery in order to shock readers, and also because she is able to lend her voice to other slaves that were abused in similar manners. She argues that despite the fact she was excluded from the world during childhood and a large part of her adult life, she deserves her natural rights to be recognized.

This narrative is an attempt to overcome her exclusion and her argument is strengthened as she contrasts her own character with that of her owners.

As a child Prince experiences daily abuse, "To strip me naked- to hang me up by the wrists and lay my flesh open was an ordinary punishment for even the slightest offence (Prince, 241)." This striking image of a young girl being tied up and beaten to a pulp evokes a very visceral response. An in-depth description of the entire process of her punishment enables readers to correlate this image of "ordinary discipline," with an image of torture. The idea of physical torture does not only have a much stronger effect rhetorically, but it is also conveys a much more accurate description of the way slaves were treated. In addition to being physically abused as a young child, she was...