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State the tone at the beginning, middle, and end of chapter one. Quote a sentence with...

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dtb75 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 5, 2009 at 11:48 AM via web

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State the tone at the beginning, middle, and end of chapter one. Quote a sentence with proof & page number demonstrating the tone.

Interpret and comment on each of the following quotes.

a. "I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation ... that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery" (51).

b. Ever since I have been old enough to think for myself, I have entertained the idea that ... the black man got nearly as much out of slavery as the white man did" (52).

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goreadabook | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted July 7, 2009 at 4:03 AM (Answer #1)

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The tone at the beginning of the chapter is reflective and informative.  Washington speaks with a mild, respectful voice and does his best to accurately develop an image of the early years of his life. In reference to his father he says,

"Whoever he was, I never heard of him taking the least interest in me or providing in any way for my rearing.  But I do not find especial fault with him.  He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution which the Nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at the time."

It is clear that he holds no bitterness or resentment for his experiences, although he acknowledges the atrociousness of slavery very early on.

The middle portion of the chapter is still very informative, however his tone becomes more hopeful as he speaks of the ideas and hopes that Abraham Lincoln had for the abolishment of slavery.  He says,

"Even the most ingnorant members of my race on the remote plantations felt in their hearts, with a certaintly that admitted no doubt, that the freedom of the slaves would be one great result from the war."

The end of the chapter brings a tone of uncertainty and slight fear.  After the excitement and joy the slaves felt after acquiring their freedom settled down, they realized they had no resources with which to build new lives.  Many of them had no idea what to do next and wound up working for their original owners on the plantations.  Washington says in reference to the elderly,

"They had no strength with which to earn a living in a strange place and among strange people, even if they had been sure where to find a new place of abode."

In response to quotation A:
Washington being a humanitarian acknowledges how horrendous the institution of slavery truly is and would not wish that suffering and the damage it causes both socially and politically upon any nation.

In response to quotation B:
Washington tries to see the good in everything and take lessons from all experiences.  He believes that slavery made African American's stronger and allowed them to pull together in the end and overcome the challenges that faced them as individuals and as a culture.

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