The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Character Analysis

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Victoria Jernigan Mrs. Jarrell
Honors American Literature
November 18, 2010

Octavian Nothing Analysis
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Traitor to the Nation, which is written by M.T. Anderson, is about a black boy who may be royalty in Africa, but he is not considered as much in Boston, Massachusetts during the American Revolution. Octavian, the prince, is going through many battles in his life, but is characterized through his oblivion and being lost. During the beginning sections of the book, Octavia is oblivious to what is really going on at the Novanglian College of Lucidity and what positions people hold in the household. For example, his “mother, I said, chose to come here because she had heard… about the town of Boston… she wished to visit it…surely it don’t have anything to do with the sickliest slaves up New England way after no one buys them down South (39-41).” His mother tries to protect him from the outside world while she could in the beginning. He also had to find out what is really going on in the house from Mr. Gitney, “For the reason that you are the experiment and all the rest of this… the house, the guests, the servants…all are in service of that pursuit of truth. You are the central to the works; we but the disembodied observers of your progress (49).” Octavian, was raised in an environment where they observer and are observed. He did not know what to feel, but he understands. The College keeps his interaction with anyone or anything outside of them, so when he does go on his walks with Dr. Trefusis, “I did not understand when I saw boys urinating on the stone stoop of the store… I did not understand why men were hanged in effigy (71).” He is an experiment and has no real interaction with the world outside the College. This shows how much is kept from him so that he only knows what they want him to know. Octavian’s...
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