What is the difference between the climax and the crisis in "The Slave Dancer"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The crisis in The Slave Dancer may be identified with the protagonist ’s personal growth or with the plot overall. As an adolescent boy, Jessie Bollier is thrust into a challenging situation to which he must adjust or perish. He is trapped on the slave ship, and until the ship...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The crisis in The Slave Dancer may be identified with the protagonist’s personal growth or with the plot overall. As an adolescent boy, Jessie Bollier is thrust into a challenging situation to which he must adjust or perish. He is trapped on the slave ship, and until the ship reaches land, his only escape would be through suicide. While Jessie does contemplate this possibility, he quickly rejects it. He goes through a number of smaller crises in coming to terms with his situation, including admitting that he hates everyone on the ship, including the slaves. His greatest personal crisis comes when he decides he can no longer be complicit in making the slaves dance and throws his fife overboard.

Throughout the novel, the idea is put forward that the American ships would interfere with the British ones. The crisis point in the plot comes when the American ship fools the slave ship, and a battle ensues.

Because the battle occurs during a storm, Jessie goes below and shuts the hatch. The raging storm effectively ends the crisis of the battle, and precipitates the climax: the shipwreck.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the novel "The Slave Dancer," there are several conflicts. The crisis is included in the rising action. Rising action are the events and complications that lead to an important and dramatic point in the plot. The climax is the point of greatest interest and emotional involvement in the plot. The Moonlight is anchored off the coast of Cuba to exchange the slaves. During a "celebration" designed by the captain, the ship sees an approaching ship and chaos breaks out at the same time a squall hits. Jessie and Ras are trapped for days in the slave hold of the ship which eventually crashes on the reefs off the coast of land. This is the crisis. The climax would be when the two boys must say goodbye after the months of struggle they faced together on the slave ship. This is a very emotional scene in the novel and builds to a tearful and heartfelt separation of the to boys.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team