English Essay #21
John Thompson was a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery by white men. He was torn from his family and his freedom and forced to live as a slave. Thompson had something in common with another slave he knew who names was Elisa in that they had both been separated from their children by slavery. Elisa’s children were taken from her and sold to a man who lived far away. Thompson and Elisa had both been through a lot losing their children, but they reacted very differently to their situations. Elisa was crippled with grief, she never really worked as hard again and stayed in despair. Thompson on the other hand missed his kids and he was determined to get back to them.
One reason that Thompson’s reaction was so different from Elisa’s was that he was the one taken forced into slavery very suddenly and he was so busy thinking about his situation for the first few weeks that his grief was secondary. He was focused on escaping that he didn’t think about the possibility of not seeing his family again.
Another important reason is that he knew that his children were safe. He was the one in danger, but he didn’t have to worry about his kid’s safety. That was very different form Elisa’s situation. Elisa’s didn’t know whether her kids would be alive in a few months!
Thompson’s mindset was that of a free man. He didn’t believe that it was “just the way it is” that he was in slavery. He was sure he had been wronged and that gave him the determination to keep up hope of escape. Elisa was used to being a slave. She wasn’t hopeful that her situation would get any better, so she fell into despair.
I think that the biggest reason that Thompson had a different reaction than Elisa is that he really had hope that he would see his children again. He never let himself think that he would never see his family again.