Underground to Canada: Ch 1-5 by: Danish Khan (Recount/Summery)

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This was essentially a Book Report assignment that my grade 8 teacher gave me. It basically summarizes the first 5 chapters of the book Underground to Canada, by Barbara Smucker via Book Report format. This should be quite use full for students under TDSB Scarborough area.

==============================Novel Studies Danish KhanNovember 20th/2007Julilly: Life of a SlaveMy name is Julilly. I am a slave. I worked in the Virginia plantation, owned by Massa Hensen and his wife Missy Hensen, until I was sold to another slave trader and forced to work in another plantation in Mississippi. Sold and separated from my mammy, treated like a work horse, given little food to survive with and whipped worse than a donkey, were only some of my most difficult things to bear in my life. Only one thing remained a sign of hope for me, a land that my mammy had mentioned just before the day of our separation.

A land where slaves like us were allowed to roam free, get paid for the work we do, and not have to be whipped around like little farm animals. After meeting my first friend, Liza, suddenly the road to freedom becomes apparent.

It was at night, when we had first heard that a slave trader from the Deep South would be coming to our plantation. John the coachman said that Massa and Missy Hensen were planning on moving north. Massa Hensen was sick and needed to see a doctor but he didn't have the money to do so, since all the crops were turning out bad because the soil was used up and needed time to recover it's nutritious qualities. John also told us the Massa Hensen was planning to dig up some money by selling some of the slaves. That night Mammy Sally told me that we might be separated. It was then that I had first heard of Canada, a land where black people like us live freely because the law wouldn't allow any slavery there.

After that night, my life changed. We woke up at four o'clock that morning; we ate breakfast then the slave trader showed up. He was a big man with a short neck, yellow teeth, and puffy pink cheeks. In his big fat fingers he carried a whip and a cat-o-nine tails. With his jaybird voice yelling across the cabins, he ordered us to line up along the road for inspection. Mammy Sally once again reminded me of Canada, the land of freedom, and cautioned me that if this ugly fat man bought one of us, we would vow reunite in Canada. The fat man briefly went down the line of slaves and picked those that were suitable to work as field hands and sent them to a wagon. As he came closer and closer to where my place in line was, fear started to build up in my heart. Finally he approached me, did a brief check then told me to get in the wagon. That was the last time I saw Mammy Sally.

Traveling south in the wagon below the hot sun was like riding on a bull with a ball of fire over my head. The chattering of the wagon was not bearable. I wasn't the only one suffering. Other children were in the wagon with me, begging for water and crying for their mammies, and there were the three men chained to the wagon who were forced to walk as we traveled south to Mississippi. The chubby fat man treated us ever so badly, for days we were forced to eat a little piece of bread with some hoecake and little can of water. Days gone by until, one day we ran into a Quaker abolitionist and a free black boy. The white man provided us with some gourds of water and we shortly found out that he was paying the black boy for the work he did. His kindness overwhelmed me. I never thought I'd ever be given a whole gourd of water from a white man. The following days, I thought of Canada and the abolitionist who showed kindness to me. I wondered if I would ever be free and get paid for my work like that black boy.

As we headed south, the ground started to become hard and bumpy. I noticed that Adam's ankles were starting to tear apart. The chains around his feat were very heavy and due to all that walking, I figured the constant rubbing of his skin with the rough edges of the chains must have caused the injuries around his bony ankles. That wasn't the worst part; the fat man was becoming more furious as the heat from the sun burned over top of us. He whipped the three men every time one of them slowed down. After days of traveling, the ground turned soft and muddy. We had reached the cypress swamp. Out of a sudden it began to rain heavily. Angrily, the fat man whipped Adam, Lester and Ben and prompted them to walk faster, and then he dashed ahead of the driver and hid under a tall tree. Later on, I know that the men outside were stuck in the swamp water, their tired legs could not hold the weight of their body and the heavy chains. To help them I jumped out of the cabin and quickly grabbed the chains and pulled them up. The three of them could then walk with little ease. The rain stopped as we touched hard ground again. Our next stop was Massa Riley's plantation.

Finally, we arrived at Mississippi. We stopped in front of the biggest house I had ever seen in my life. It was as white as the moon of the night. With humongous pillars at either side of the brilliant door and beautiful stair steps that lead to the door, surprise hit me. But soon after I learned that this was another slave camp. Another plantation. Another freedom less place full of horrors, I thought. There, the master was called "Massa Riley". He and his wife were the owners of the plantation. After a brief talk with Massa Riley, the fat man ordered the driver to head into the slave cabins. There, I was introduced to living skeletons. This wasn't like Massa Hensen's plantation. The black slaves in this plantation were in the worst shape I could ever imagine. They were like dried up crinkly brown leaves. They had caved in cheeks, and scrawny legs, like that of a chicken. The fat man then shouted at one of the slaves and told them to get the kids inside one of the huts. Then he told me to go by into another cabin where the field hands slept. I felt fear and hatred towards this cruel man but did as he said. Inside the cabin, other slave girls were lying around in their filthy rags. There was an open space beside a hunch-backed girl, girl that would later become my best friend, Liza.

This story echoes loudly of the complexity of situations that a person like Julilly goes through, even though she is born free but is not living as a free human being in this world. This whole story revolves around the whole human drama of power and the powerless. Because Julilly was powerless, her life strings were in the hands of those who were causing all the emotional, physical, or psychological traumas that she was going through.

===============================================Bibliography: "Underground to Canada," Barbara Smucker, 2007. Page 4-256