Middle Passage Setting & Symbolism

Charles Johnson
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New Orleans

New Orleans is the city where the novel begins, a city that intrigues Rutherford because of its sensuality and a city where he immediately feels at home. As the story progresses, New Orleans becomes simply "home," a destination that seems to get further and further out of reach as the story unravels.

The dock

When Rutherford first moves to New Orleans, he goes to the dock and looks out over the water, many times after a night of drinking. He finds the area to be relaxing. Most importantly, however, this is where Rutherford first meets Isadora.

The Republic

The Republic is the ship on which the bulk of the story takes place. It is captained by Captain Ebenezer Falcon and is headed for the African coast where it will pick up a cargo of slaves and then return to New Orleans. The ship, however, does not...

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This section contains 837 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Middle Passage Study Guide
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