In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a few European nations ruled the Americas. They grew sugar, tobacco, coffee, ginger, cotton and indigo, which were all craved by the Europeans. Imprisoned in these exotic product plantations were about two and a half million black slaves. Fred D”Aguiar’s book “The Longest Memory” is about one man’s account of being a slave in the Americas, how he was treated and how it affected him.
Fred D”Aguiar shows that the institution of slavery corrupts everyone involved in by using multiple narrators of different status, age and race to give different points of views about slavery to the reader. Each character is corrupt or has been affected by corruption.
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The main characters in the book “The Longest Memory” are Whitechapel, Mr Whitechapel, Chapel, Sanders Senior, Cook, Lydia and Sanders Junior. .
First of all the theme of this book is about corruption, slavery. Slaves were bought and sold like cattle and other agricultural products are today. To buy slaves, plantation owners went to markets. The branding that indicated who ruled them was black skin; this was obvious and could be seen by everyone. Any skin colour darker than white skin became a sign that they were inferior, dumb, reckless and needed to be controlled. Since Africans were brought to the Americas against their will, it was easier to use them as slave labour. It was also more economical to use blacks as slaves. Runaways were recognized readily. .
Before human rights movements, it was these thoughts of blacks that made it acceptable to take them from their families to work under harsh conditions and live on the barest of essentials, because white people believed they were doing them a favour. A so-called “normal” family was impossible for most slaves. Slave masters did not hesitate to break up slave families when a profitable sale came along. .
The major corrupt aspect was the constitution at the time.