Flight to Canada

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Mammy Barracuda's Role in Flight to Canada

Mammy Barracuda’s occupies a small but important role in Flight to Canada. She contributes to the overall satire in the novel. Reed’s emphasis on the stereotypical traits of the Southern Mammy through Mammy Barracuda, serves to emphasize the ambivalence that such individuals projected towards slavery. While she was outwardly kind to her black fellows, she secretly enjoys the power she wields over them. She shuns the African religion by putting on a cross which signifies the superiority of white culture in the community. Reed indicates that Mammy Barracuda “once went into the fields and the sun reflected on her cross so, two slaves were blinded” (20). The author exposes the irony and hypocrisy among blacks in the era of slavery. Mammy Barracuda embodies the hypocrisy and violence among black servants.

Camelot as a Theme in Flight to Canada

The theme of Camelot in Flight to Canada offers an alternative view of America as a court of justice and fairness. The satire in the theme is reflected by the constant imposition upon the black individual by the Anglo-centric underpinnings in the slave-era America. In the myth of Camelot, the court is considered to be a place that promotes equality and freedom. Unlike King Arthur who condoned and encouraged the entry of people into the court, the Arthur Swille, “did his business from the tower of a Castle built on his grounds, said to be the very replica of King Arthur’s in the Holy City of Camelot” (Reed 32). The allusion reflects the contradictory nature of the Swilles’ castle. It facilitates the projection of the shift that was witnessed in the era of slavery. Sarcastically, Reed indicates that Swille “said something about a town named Camelot. Where is this town, aide? How far away is this town Camelot? Is it a train stop? Is it Virginia?” (106). The satire in the statement is derived from the idea that Camelot was supposed to be a city of peace and contentment for the majority of the residents. It should promote cohesion and unity. Contrary to expectations, Swille seeks to separate himself from his immediate community. The point that the author hoped to convey was that while the Swilles assumed that they practiced justice towards the slaves, in truth they betrayed the principles of truth.

Irony in Uncle Robin's Actions

The reference “Uncle Robin knows his place – his place in the shadows” speaks of the irony in Uncle Robin’s actions. While he is intelligent enough to cunningly acquire property that belongs to him, his timidity sees him act like a slave. Using the statement, Reed reflects the ambivalence and fear that is found among slaves. Ideally, it would be expected that the acquisition of property would empower Uncle Robin. However, that is not the case as he constantly seeks to associate with the slaves. Uncle Robin reflects the black slaves’ inclination to cower in the face of white imposition despite being aware of their rights.

The Republican Party's Failure

Reed makes an allusion to the Republican Party when he calls them “Transcendentalists, Free Lovers, Free Farmers, Whigs, Known-Nothings and those awful Whitmanities. Always running about hugging things” (64). The use of such reference is intended to reflect the absurdity in calls for the freedom of the black individual by Abe despite the continued slavery in the North. The statement contributes to the message since it reflects the doublespeak and unwillingness to truly emancipate the slaves. The statement offers insight on some of the failures of the Republican party in the calls for justice and release of slaves.

Significance of the Term "Know-nothings" in Flight to Canada

What is the significance of the term “Know-nothings” in Flight to Canada?

The Role of Swilles in Reflecting the Cracks in the Republican Party

What is the role of Swilles in reflecting the cracks in the Republican Party?

Work Cited

Reed, Ishmael. Flight to Canada. Avon Book, 1977.

August 21, 2023




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Literature Review

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