Flight to Canada Themes & Motifs

Reed, Ishmael
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Slavery

Many of the novel’s major characters are slaves or former slaves. While many slave narratives focus on the particular horrors of slavery, Flight to Canada takes this horror for granted and chooses to explore human inferiority by demonstrating differing reactions to slavery itself. For example, Quickskill, Leechfield, and 40s choose to run away from Arthur Swille. Their previous enslavement affects each of them in different ways. Quickskill chooses to believe in an ideal world, represented by Canada, where he can find absolute peace and freedom. Leechfield, somewhat ironically, distances himself from his past by making a living being subservient to strangers, reasoning that he proves ownership over his body by selling it. Meanwhile, 40s is unable to believe that any permanent security exists. Even in the supposed safety of Emancipation City, he says, “Virginia everywhere. Virginia outside. You might be Virginia” (77). This range of reactions...

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This section contains 2,328 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Flight to Canada Study Guide
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