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Louisa May Alcott's 'My Contraband'

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Louisa May Alcott's 'My Contraband'
Louisa May Alcott grew up during a time when many Northerners were beginning to stand up for the abolition of slavery and the rights of African Americans to be free from fear of a cruel master. She worked as a nurse during the Civil War, braving the “unsanitary and poorly run Union Hotel Hospital” in her efforts to aid wounded and dying men (“Louisa May Alcott” 1734). Even before her saintly deeds in the Civil War effort, it was clear that Alcott was a sympathetic, well-educated woman who supported the abolitionist cause and was willing to do everything within her power to strengthen the movement. She shows this abolitionist attitude in several of her stories, “My Contraband” being just one of them.
A short story set in the midst of the Civil War, “My Contraband” depicts the tragic truth of the relations between slave and master and their consequences, as well as the construct of relationships between one
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But, as the story wears on, his true motivations for staying with Miss Dane and the injured soldier become clear: he knows the Confederate man personally, and he absolutely abhors him. When Miss Dane succumbs to her exhaustion and falls asleep in the middle of the night, Robert disposes of the soldier’s medicine and determines to kill him. As Miss Dane tries to stop him, he tells her why he is so bent on destroying the dying man. It turns out that the man is called Marster Ned, and he is Robert’s white half-brother who took over his father’s plantation and treated Robert worse than all his other slaves. In one of his fever fits, Marster Ned had blurted a dark truth about a mysterious woman named Lucy: “I swore I’d whip the devil out of her, and I did; but you know before she cut her throat she said she’d haunt me…” (Alcott 1740). Lucy, as it happens, was Robert’s wife, and hearing that she was tortured and defiled by his brother gives him an understandable thirst for

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