Roots Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 94 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Roots.
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Assimilation and Separatism

Kunta Kinte1 s story illustrates an enduring theme of African-American life: the conflict between assimilation and separatism. In Africa, Kunta would never have been confronted with this issue, but in the American colonies he is subject to the powerful pressures of assimilation.

Kunta tries to hold onto his African identity, which has always defined him. Yet he is forced to accept a new name. As a slave, his entire social context has been redefined. Kunta cannot fully express himself because he is not free; he has lost his autonomy, which had so defined him as a young man in Africa

Moreover, Kunta is very lonely away from his home, family, and culture. In order to assuage his loneliness, he reaches out to the other blacks. Eventually Kunta realizes that he prefers life on the plantation to certain death, which he risks if he attempts to escape...

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This section contains 597 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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