Nightjohn Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Nightjohn.
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Slaves as Animals

There are many references to the slaves as animals throughout the novel. More than likely, this is because imagery echoes back to the idea that slaves are property, less than human. The slaves are most frequently compared to livestock, like horses or cows, which carries the symbolism of chattel. Chattel, defined as an item of property other than real estate, is most frequently used to describe slaves and livestock, so the imagery fits. The reader first sees this parallel when Waller forces John to drive the buggy to the plantation with a shackle around his neck, as if he were a horse. This dehumanization is the same punishment bestowed on Mammy when Waller catches Sarny writing. These comparisons are set up to expose the way society viewed slaves as insignificant.

Readers will also sense the comparison of slaves and animals with the reference to the breeding...

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This section contains 912 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Nightjohn Study Guide
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