Why was slavery popular in the nineteenth century? Just because the rich could afford a slave, does not mean it was necessary to have one. In the excerpt, the selfish lives of gentlefolk are tantalized. The author utilizes tone, point of view and imagery to emphasize the life of the rich.
First, the narrator uses a satirical tone to create humor about the naïve lives of gentlefolks. The tone is also serious to emphasize the theme of socioeconomic status. One sentence says, “You dabbled in nasty mud, and made pies, when you were a child; and you dabble in nasty science…” The reader may feel as if the narrator is teasing them, by telling them how foolishly they are living their lives. The formal diction used by the author contains a simple vocabulary, yet the points made by the narrator are harsh and critical. Words such as, “nasty”; “cruel”; “stupid”; “curiosity”; and “dirty” have a negative connotation that show how captious the narrator is towards the idle rich. The narrator states, “In the one case and in the other, the secret of it is, that you have got nothing to think of in your poor empty head, and nothing to do with your poor idle hands.” The animosity towards the idle rich sets the mood of the excerpt. The narrator indirectly states that gentlefolks do nothing with their lives, and slaves do it all for them.
Next, the author uses the first person point- of- view to give a subjective opinion. The narrator says, “Gentlefolks in general have a very awkward rock ahead in life- the rock ahead of their own idleness.” This is a bias opinion because not everyone may feel this way about gentlefolks. The point of view allows the reader to give his own conception of the idle rich, pointless and corrupted. Slaves believe that the rich have too much free time, so “they drift blindfold into some nasty pursuit.” This connotes that the narrator believes the rich are wasting their time, while their slaves are forced to do their dirty work.
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