The Known World

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, African American
  • Pages : 3 (1092 words )
  • Download(s) : 1497
  • Published : May 19, 2008
Open Document
Text Preview
Control is an interesting thing for it comes in many different disguises; it can be masked as power, as freedom - but these are merely illusions.

People believe that they are truly free when they have control [p3] over others and are the ones in the powerful positions (positions of power). They strive for control and power in their lives hoping that it will offer them salvation and freedom and in return make life easier and give them an upper hand. However, freedom [p4] is unobtainable.

The antebellum south is a perfect example of this. The white southerners had complete control over slaves and the actions of African-Americans so they believed that they were in fact free. They were content, secure, and comfortable with their slaves because they had the ability and the authority to monitor their actions and treat them however they chose. This control gave them a sense of freedom and security. But no – this feeling was nothing more than an illusion of freedom and a false sense of security.

Henry in The Known World by Edward Jones believed in this false freedom. He was in fact born into slavery on a large plantation with minimal rights and maximum work but he grew to have a strong bond with the master William Robbins. Although he had more privileges than others on the plantation, he still had very little control over his life and his situation. When he was finally bought out of slavery he made the decision to become a slave owner and run a plantation with his own hired help. This is because he desired the control Robbins had. He believed that the more control he had the freer he would actually be.

Although Henry was a prominent person in the community and was in the control of many slaves and a large plantation, he was still just an African-American and still enslaved. Outside the borders of Manchester Country, Virginia, he would be viewed as just another slave who had managed escaped from home and, due...
tracking img