Ben Literary Qualities

Julius Lester
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"Ben" is a finely crafted story that evokes thoughtfulness out of its thoughtful treatment of a very complex subject, one that is likely to be uncomfortable and disturbing for many readers: How did the practice of slavery affect white people in free states? Lester dramatizes this question in the story of a character whose idealism is perverted by his self-interest.

His narrator begins as an idealistic young man who hates slavery but one who, because of his desire to prosper economically through marriage to the woman he loves, evolves into a hypocrite who is constantly trying to find a way to live with his conscience and justify the benefits that the practice of slavery brings him. Throughout the story, Lester invites reassessment of how slavery was viewed by the oppressors and the oppressed and how relationships among blacks and whites unfolded. By having a freestate hypocrite...

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This section contains 224 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Ben Short Guide
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Gale
Ben from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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