What is the theme of Chapter One in Booker T Washington's novel "Up from Slavery?"

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Booker T Washington's autobiography Up From Slavery reveals his benevolent attitude. The first chapter begins the story as to his humble beginnings and sets a gracious tone which endears him to many and which ensures his success - rightfully or wrongfully - because of his restrained personality. He gains the trust of many and uses every opportunity without questioning the motives of others.

Chapter One primarily deals with the relationship between master and servant and Washington's belief in the inherent goodness of his race - and the fact that the African American is strengthened because of, and not in spite of, slavery. To some the main theme of benign acceptance and fellowship resulting in a belief in the basic goodness of mankind, is an idealized view of the situation but, being autobiographical, it is Washington's own interpretation. In chapter one, Washington's empathy and understanding of the plight of all the people affected by slavery and its abolition enables the theme to endure throughout his book.     

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