By William Noy Wilkins Mrs, Anon, Gordon Wilkins Kerr, Lise Winer, Bridget Brereton, Rhonda Cobham, Mary Rimmer, Karen Sanchez-Eppler
A dramatic nineteenth-century story, initially released within the newspapers of the day, Adolphus lines the adventures of a mulatto son of a black slave girl raped by means of a white guy.
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Extra info for Adolphus, a Tale (Anonymous) & the Slave Son (The Caribbean Heritage Series)
P. qxd 6/17/2003 1:15 PM Page xxxvii Introduction Significantly, in a novel where poison proves the most potent means of slave resistance, poison also provides a metaphor for racial prejudice (see discussion above). The mention of Frederick Douglass’s provocative promenades through New York suggests another set of connections between Wilkins’s novel and US abolitionists. Like Stowe, Douglass marked the publication of his first anti-slavery book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave ( 1993), by a tour of Britain.
Yet Wilkins’s suspicions about the immorality of those raised as slaves keep her from representing “our good friends”, as she calls the Dorsets, as critics of the slave system as a whole rather than simply recoiling from its excesses (p. 323). They continue as slave holders, attempting to “civilize the savages” (p. qxd 6/17/2003 1:15 PM Page xxxii Introduction study and sewing lessons: “On slaves that were African born they invariably succeeded in making some impression, but on Negroes born as slaves in the Colony, never; these were all hardened, cunning, and corrupt” (p.
Although by focusing on mixed-race characters Adolphus and The Slave Son may capitulate to the notion that white blood is needed to fit people for full citizenship, the same device also problematizes the notion of an essential racial identity. Adolphus, for instance, makes it obvious that parentage, the very concept invoked in its preface, is fraught with contradiction and conflict. To return to the preface after reading the novel is to be struck by that choice of the word “parent”, surely significant in a novel where fatherhood rarely appears in a positive light.
Adolphus, a Tale (Anonymous) & the Slave Son (The Caribbean Heritage Series) by William Noy Wilkins Mrs, Anon, Gordon Wilkins Kerr, Lise Winer, Bridget Brereton, Rhonda Cobham, Mary Rimmer, Karen Sanchez-Eppler