What is the focus of Chapter One?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The focus of the first chapter is the pre- slave life of At- Mun.  An African prince, At- Mun commanded the respect of his people.  The exposition to the first chapter focuses on the community that At- Mun represented as its prince.  It also focuses on how this community showed respect to its prince.  Finally, the entrance of the slave owners is what ends up breaking this community.

The first chapter depicts the violence and cruelty of the slave owners as well as the plundering that took place. The primary focus of the first chapter is in exploring this point, a setting in which "With cries and shouts, the slavers advanced on the village."  While the villagers try to disperse with intense speed, the enslavers focus on capturing "the strongest and tallest," and discarding the elderly and the children.  This focus is enhanced by how At- Mun sought to repel the invasion, defending the honor of his village and his people.  Loyal to both his people and his sister, At- Mun does his best to try to fend off the invaders.  In the end, he is put down, and enslaved as "two whites secured his wrists with bamboo withes and threw him down to chain his ankles."  The opening chapter depicts the true terror of slavery and begins the narrative of enslavement along with the reclamation of freedom and voice.

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