In Jubilee, how does Randall influence Vyry?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, Randall Ware is a free man blacksmith who works near the Dutton plantation where Vyry is a slave to Dutton, her master and her own father. Vyry is very partial to Randall because he is free and not a field hand. She has always thought field hands inferior to domestic slaves and--of course--free men. She and Randall talk often of marriage:

"Miss Stuck-up ... If you would marriage with me I'd buy your freedom!"

"Don't you want to hear how I'm trying to buy your freedom, or don't you want to marriage with me?"

Yet, Vyry is forbidden to marry him because doing so would make her free and Dutton would lose a slave--and--his daughter, the daughter of his best beloved slave mistress, Hetta.

Vyry wants to be married to Randall and so he does have considerable influence over her. The most profound instance of his influence is when he persuades her to attempt to run away and go with him to the North when Georgia becomes even more unfriendly to black free men.

"Don't cry. I can take you with me, if you've got the will to go."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean run away."

Their attempt failed and Randall and Vyry were parted. Later, Randall returns to reclaim Vyry, but she is unwilling to go to him because of her subsequent marriage to Innis, a field hand who breaks down her prejudice against field hands for their perceived inferiority:

"Innis and me has got a marriage, Randall Ware. We has been through everything together, ...."