Homework Help

Is the book A Mercy based more on opression, violence,  liberation, or identity?

user profile pic

ducksman55 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:09 AM via web

dislike 1 like

Is the book A Mercy based more on opression, violence,  liberation, or identity?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:17 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

It is possible to find support for all of these themes in A Mercy, since any novel that concerns itself with slavery almost inevitably includes such themes.  Florens and the other characters grapple with all of these. The book asks us to consider what enslaves us, no matter who we are, black, white, Native American, landowner, slave, homosexual or heterosexual, and what can make us free. What makes us who we are, whether runaway or blacksmith, Native American or indentured servant?  There is ample evidence of oppression, the oppression of Native Americans, slaves, and indentured servants. Even  slave owners are oppressed by the responsibilities they have to those they own and to their families.

However, in my opinion, there are other themes reflected in the novel. For example, there is the theme of family.  What makes a family?  Need it be a marital or blood relationship?  A family in the novel consists of people who love and care for one another, no matter what their status or identity.  Another theme is religious intolerance. As you read the book you will have noticed that while we perceive America as a land of religious tolerance, the roots of a lack thereof were present at our beginnings. And of course, the theme of mercy is ever present in the novel, since mercies small and large sustain us all.

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes