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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party Study Guide & Plot Summary

Matthew Tobin Anderson
This Study Guide consists of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1.
This section contains 494 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party Summary & Study Guide Description

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party by Matthew Tobin Anderson.

Plot Summary

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson, is an award-winning book about one extraordinary boy's early life and subsequent attempts to escape slavery in pre-revolutionary America. Octavian is the son of an African princess and through his early life, enjoys a great education and many luxuries at his master's College of Lucidity in Boston.

While he is cared for and even given expensive things during his young childhood, he learns from a manservant by the name of Bono that he is still a slave, and that he still must learn how to deal with his white masters. While the revelation that he is a slave changes Octavian's outlook somewhat, real changes come to him and the College upon the death of a Lord Cheldethorpe, who once funded Lucidity College and its scientific research that Octavian participated in.

Octavian is being treated so well and educated as part of an experiment to see if blacks can be as intelligent as whites. His master, Mr. Gitney, quickly invites Cheldethorpes heir to the college in hopes of securing the same amount of funding. Cheldethorpe develops feelings for Octavian's mother and affection for Octavian. For a brief period, it seems as though things will work out in everyone's favor. However, before the new Lord leaves, he approaches Octavian's mother and takes them with him to London as his slaves. When Cassiopeia demands her freedom, Cheldethorpe belittles her and through the wall, Octavian hears a fight begin.

Octavian's attempts at intervention wind up getting both himself and his mother severely lashed. Cheldethorpe refuses to fund the college any further. As colonial tensions rise, Gitney seeks funding and finds in the form of a Mr. Sharpe, who represents the interests of plantation owners across the colonies, and seeks to destroy Octavian's success as an experiment. Tensions between the colonies and Britain grow worse, and the college is removed to a house in the town of Canaan, where Gitney plans to throw a pox party. This is a party intended to protect people from the smallpox virus by giving them safer versions of it. However, Octavian also learns that they have moved to the house in Canaan in order to guard against a rumored slave revolt. Many of the people at the house grow sick, and Octavian's mother dies from the disease. At this, Octavian makes his own escape, serving briefly in the rebel army and learning what it is like to be free. He is captured once again by his former masters, however, and confronts them over their hypocrtical desire to free themselves from Britain yet retain their slaves in so doing. As Sharpe berates him, both he and Gitney fall victim to a poison given to them by a former tutor of Octavian's who cares about the boy greatly. The two flee to Boston together, in an attempt to find a way that Octavian might remain free.

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This section contains 494 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party Study Guide
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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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