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Slave Dancer Essay

1. What is Jessie trying to think of as he walks home at the beginning of the book?

As Jessie is walking home at the beginning of the book, he is trying to think of a story to hide his tardiness from his mother, because he spent an hour at the slave market even though she has forbidden him from going there.

2. What does Jessie's mother do for a living and how does Jessie feel about this?

Jessie's mother is a seamstress. She makes beautiful dresses for the rich women in the neighborhood. Jessie wishes she didn't have to work so hard, and finds it strange that something as small as a needle supports his family.

3. What errand does Jessie's mother send him on when he gets home at the beginning of the book?

When Jessie gets home at the beginning of the book, his mother says that she will need more candles to finish the dress she is working on, and sends Jessie to borrow some from his Aunt Agatha.

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An Emotional Slave in The Slave Dancer

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An Emotional Slave in The Slave Dancer


I found The Slave Dancer, by Paula Fox, to be a very commendable historical fiction. When I had finished reading the final sentence, I was left with a feeling of appreciation. I felt imperfect. For it easily could have been my ancestors who tortured the multitudes of helpless slaves. The Slave Dancer was a difficult book to get into, but it soon captured my interest and turned into an excellent, yet emotional, piece of literature.

The Slave Dancer was a story that was so real and likewise so powerful. It was such an immaculate piece of work that it should be read by all. I truly enjoyed the main character, Jessie. He was slowly, throughout the story, transformed from an innocent young boy, captured and taken aboard a slave ship to play his fife to "dance the slaves", into a man who realizes the true meaning of friendship, life, survival, hardships, and love. Paula Fox's writing style is very admirable, and it genuinely shows with this Newberry Honor wining book.

There were few things I disliked about this book. I disliked the beginning of The Slave Dancer because it was a very difficult book to get into. I did not like the lack of detail when it came to describing the crew members aboard The Moonlight, which is the name of the slave ship. The book kept referring to crew members, and I could not tell them apart. I could not picture something different about each one of them.

I believe that The Slave Dancer would help everyone understand the misfortune that all of the African slaves went through. I anticipate that there will be some who would not enjoy this book, however, I think that everybody should read The Slave Dancer. I would certainly read this book again and still benefit from its text. I recommend this book to all who have lost the true meaning of appreciation and wish to grasp that significance once again.

After reading The Slave Dancer I was transposed into a different person. I was more aware of the views of each person and each cherished life. I took back a lesson; a sad lesson. I was reminded of how precious every person's life is, and how just one experience can change one's perspective of life.

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Slave Dancer         African Slaves         Few Things         Historical Fiction         Young Boy         Main Character         Moonlight         Misfortune        

The last few words of this book meant a great deal to me. They show me how tragic experiences can influence future ones. The last paragraph is simply implying that Jessie can not listen to music any longer for he is reminded of his melancholy past. "I would see once again as though they'd never ceased their dancing in my mind, black men, women and children lifting their tormented limbs in time to a reedy martial air, the dust rising for their joyless thumping, the sound of the fife finally drowned beneath the clanging of their chains."


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