Richard Frethorne

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Richard Frethorne, an indentured servant, a young man forced to grow up in a challenging area known as Colonial Virginia. Becoming an indentured servant, one must sign a contract giving them a working environment hoping for some land in return once the contract has expired. Depending on age, one would typically work for around five years. Richard Frethorne wrote this letter to his parents back home describing his struggles, his thoughts and opinions, and work environment. Richard Frethorne was forced to work throughout the day’s and night’s with little to no water and perhaps a mouthful of bread to end his day. Death by starvation was just over the horizon, and for many, it killed them. Exhaustion, disease and even constant attacks from the natives killed many of the workers. Colonial Virginia is a newly formed colony, with majority of workers fighting their way to survive in their unpleasant work environment, trust was out the window. Many would steal food and clothing from others, mainly from people who have became sick and weak with distress. Coming from England, Richard had no idea on how much of a struggle he would have to go through in order just to survive the working conditions. In his letter Richard stated, “…that I have eaten more in a day at home than I have allowed me here for a weeke.” This quote had me thinking how hard it really must have been for Richard to even survive a month, I couldn’t’ even do that, but luckily he came across a couple who lends a helping hand. A sense of family is found in the new world due to this couple, though they too are struggling. The tone and desperation of this letter became clear once I read “But this is Certaine I never felt the want of ffather an mother till now,…” He is a child crying for his parents, wanting to go back home , “…I beg of you to helpe me.” These two quotes basically sums up the whole letter, his whole tone of the letter, and the way he feels about being an indentured servant. His cry for help to...
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