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Describe the life of slaves in the American Colonies in the 1700s.

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nya1 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 3, 2013 at 6:34 PM via web

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Describe the life of slaves in the American Colonies in the 1700s.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 4, 2013 at 12:13 AM (Answer #1)

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One condition of life for slaves of the 1700s was a lack of control over their lives.  Isabel reflects this in Anderson's work.  Slaves were sent from one plantation to another.  They lived a life in which one owner was replaced with another owner.  Slaves found that cruelty and ownership were the only constants in their being.  Another aspect of slave life was the breaking of the families.  Slave owners often deliberately broke up slave families to exert power and weaken the will of the slave.  It is for this reason that Isabel is so concerned with her sister, recognizing that families do not stay together.  As Isabel's narrative displays, physical abuse was another part of the slave life that made is so difficult.  Physical abuse, emotional cruelty, and the embodiment of some of the harshest subjugation is where slave life was so distinctively horrific.  In the life of the slave in America of 1700s, a great deal of anger, confusion, and resentment presented itself as slaves were thrown into a condition of being that few would ever want.  Such confusion as to what to do and how to live are elements that define Isabel's narrative as, like America, she comes of age in the time period.

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