Book Report on “Babouk”

Guy Endore tells the story of the drastic slave history through the eyes of an African – Babouk. He starts by focusing on the cargo of a French slaver during the late years of the eighteenth century. He explores the characteristics of a slave trade through his presentation of the ship and its primary quest. As the ship gets loaded with captured slave at Goree, readers are provided with the concept of how lowly did the early Americans view the African Negroes.

The way in which they were “loaded” to the ship makes the thought of slavery dreadfully equated to the scene of hoarding tools and equipment that will soon be used to gain profits. In general, what makes the story terribly disturbing is the way by which one race maltreats the other because of their difference in color, race, and cultural structures. This was shown when the slaves were stricken with opthalmia during their long, tiring, and devastatingly miserable trip towards San Domingo.

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During the voyage to the enslaved land, those who failed to meet and satisfy the standards of “slave eligibility” because of the disabilities that they developed (such as the loss of the sense of sight) were disposed in an inhuman way- being thrown overboard to drown and die. As the slaves reach their unfortunate destination of lifelong enslavement, the story becomes much worse as the once free men take their roles as full-pledged slaves under the rule of “masters” who treat them disdainfully and without any sign of gratitude and appreciation. However, the drastic enslavement also brings about a positive effect on the part of the Haitians.
The slavery drives them to fight. The pain of being treated appallingly and the feeling of being taken away from their home and families eventually evolved into an urge to fight and defend themselves. The slavery of their white fellows transformed them into revolutionaries which eventually became as harsh as they were. Unfortunately, the supposed enlightenment of the slaves ended in their tragic death. Apathy yields indifference In the story of Babouk, readers were provided with a glimpse of how dreadful early Americans treated their potential slaves.
In the story, they showed no signs of remorse in what they were doing. They failed to recognize that Africans like Babouk had the same rights and privileges that they enjoyed. They equated their potential slaves in the same way that they treat beasts of burden and tools for trade and profit. They showed no apathy and acted as if the indifference was a normal part of life and living. In effect, they instilled hatred in the heart of their slaves and they promoted the idea that a human being may treat their fellows in an inhuman way, for as long as they can delineate differences in their race and culture.
They showed that violence was normal part of societal interaction and that “survival of the fittest” exists not only in the jungle. In response to this elaborate show of apathy, they harvested nothing but indifference from their revolutionist slaves. The most disturbing demonstration of this sadistic harvest is when Babouk threw a white child on the ground, struck a pike into its innocent and defenseless body, and used it as a banner. Reference: Endore, Guy (1934). “Babouk”. New York: Vanguard Press

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