Roots Criticism

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For the most part, Roots was a critical success, although no amount of critical acclaim could have overshadowed its overwhelming popular reception. Critics of Roots have tended to focus on the historical accuracy of the novel, Haley's use of dialect, and the book's emotional power.

Russell Warren Howe asserted that Roots "is crammed with raw violence and makes valid demands on the tearducts of the dourest reader."

Arnold Rampersad contended that Haley's "recreation of Kunta's middle passage journey in the hold of a slave ship is harrowing, the major place in the book where facts are incontrovertibly alchemized into vivid narrative."

Likewise, critics praised Haley's renderings of heart-wrenching scenes like the one where Kizzy is sold away from her parents, about which Paul Zimmerman wrote, "this soapy passage is heartbreaking."

Even critics who have found themselves moved by Roots have taken issue with the historical accuracy of the...

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This section contains 604 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Roots Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Roots from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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