The Whipping Boy by Richard Gibney
The Civil War embossed America from 1861 to 1865 and only Americans participated in the war. The whole issue of slavery started the war; some were against it, while others were in favor of it. The war was mainly between the Southern States, who had slaves, and the Northern States, who had abolished slavery. “The Whipping Boy” from 2011 by Richard Gibney is a short story about three slaves in the Civil War, and the day they are told that they are free human beings.
The story is about three slaves; Martha, Mikey and Tommy living in the Southern States in around 1861 to 1865, where slavery wasn’t illegal yet. All three slaves had never done anything besides being slaves for Mr. Gage, old Mrs. Gage and the son Sterling at their farm, where most of the story takes place. Mikey and Martha seems to be husband and wife, while Tommy is the brother of Mikey. Mikey and the slaves’ “owner”, Sterling Gage, used to be friends when they were younger, but that was ruined. Why they aren’t friends anymore is explained in the following “(…) Sterling thought nothing of blaming Mikey, and Sterling’s father whipped Mikey with a severity the eight-year-old never forgot.” (p. 2 Ll. 49-51) Mikey feels betrayed because Sterling was supposed to be his friend, but when Sterling pilfered some sugar and his father found out, he just blamed Mikey. Through these actions you can say that Mikey becomes a “whipping boy”, which is an expression for a person who takes the blame for something he or she didn’t do. In other words Mikey becomes a scapegoat, which could be referring to the title of the short story. As it said in the quotation, Mikey will never forget the betrayal, and he wants his revenge, which he is given the opportunity to get, when the slaves become free. Besides being the wife of Mikey, Martha makes sure that old Mrs. Gage, who are getting more sick for every single day, are kept alive by making...
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