Book Review Of Sugar and Slaves

The narrative Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies paints a clear image of the English life in the Caribbean about four centuries ago. Using a assortment of beginnings available, Richard Dunn explores the beginning and the development of the plantation slave society in the part. He focuses on the sugar production techniques, the violent nature of the slave trade, the hurdlings faced in presenting and accommodating English civilization in the Torrid Zones, and the disgusting mortality rates for both inkinesss and Whites enriched these settlements.

A sum-up of the book

The narrative begins in 1624, when the English took control of the bantam island of St. Christopher. From that lonely outpost emerged a “ cohesive and powerful maestro category ” of baccy and sugar plantation owners that spread to Barbados, Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, and Jamaica. The book vividly portrays how the English plantation owners created a life snake pit in a Caribbean Garden of Eden and how they accommodated themselves to the human wreckage involved in turning the islands into extremely successful sugar-producing settlements.

An analysis of the book

The writer brings to illume the predicament the indigens of the Caribbean had to digest when the English invaded and conquered the islands. He points out instances of colza, forced labour, supplanting from one ‘s places and deculturalization. The English ruled this settlement with ferociousness. At the book ‘s beginning, the writer points out how the early English plantation owners “ made their beautiful islands about uninhabitable ” on page ( xxiii ) . Midway through his narrative, he expresses he highlights that it is shocking and straitening that “ from New England to Virginia to Jamaica, the English plantation owners in seventeenth-century America developed the wont of slaying the dirt for a few speedy harvests and so traveling along. On the sugar plantations, unhappily, they besides murdered the slaves “ on page ( 223 ) . Most tragic is his demanding history of how English colonisers “ turned their little islands into surprisingly effectual sugar-production machines, manned by ground forcess of black slaves ” ( xxi ) and how this altered English cultural values, and thoughts. In the writer ‘s position, this is a depressing narrative of human debasement ; brutalilizing Africans, and of the self-brutalization of the English plantation owners and superintendents. He sums up by composing that the English sugar islands, were “ black societal failures ” by the early 18th century on page ( 340 ) , showing his disdain for the sugar plantation owners.

The barbarous intervention the enslaved Africans went through had to trip some signifier opposition to the British plantation owners ways as the writer high spots on page ( 256 ) of the book by composing “ The acerb trial of any slave system, ” writes Dunn, “ is the frequence and fierceness of opposition by slaves ” . However, even in Jamaica, Britain ‘s most rebellious settlement, African rebellions had small consequence in conveying an terminal to slavery. Much more of import in destabilising the British death-dealing sugar economic system were hurricanes, temblors, malaria epidemics, and Gallic soldier of fortunes. Ironically the writers points out that, “ the English plantation owners, who treated their slaves with such disdainful inhumaneness, were rescued clip and once more from catastrophe by the compassionate generousness of the Negroes ” ( 262 ) . He goes on to reason that, the enslaved Africans lived indefinably hard lives, deceasing prematurely, their efforts to defy brutalisation were exercisings in futility, and in the terminal expecting salvation from of the British oppressors. This is a really saddening experience.

The inquiry of objectiveness can be pointed out in respect to the writer ‘s judgement in this book. Richard Dunn seems to be outraged and impatient with adult male ‘s inhumaneness to adult male, with conscienceless behaviour, and rather pointedly with legion incompatibilities of freedom-loving British plantation owners doing life a life snake pit on for Africans.

In add-on the writer delineates the land proprietor ship and concentration of power. Land is proprietor by fewer persons than earlier. The procedure began in Barbados with switch from little scale cotton and baccy production to extended sugar production in 1640s.Power excessively was vested in the custodies of few aggressive British plantation owners during this period. Furthermore inherited thoughts and values continued to count in the British Caribbean but merely in limited ways. The author notes on page ( 264 ) that “ In their basic life agreements — nutrient, vesture, and shelter-the early colonists, ” he explains, hung on to English imposts. However the writer merely sees merely cultural obstinacy or stupidity in cleaving to English wonts that did non conform to the Torrid Zones. They unwisely wore cool-weather attire, ate the incorrect nutrient, and built houses absurdly. In all other affairs, the English plantation owners tragically abandoned what might hold rescued them from the human calamity they were making: they rejected the thought of representative assemblies in order to change over the assemblies into platforms for the maestro category, sabotaged the reserves system because it interfered with sugar production, censored faith in order to forestall slave agitation, made common jurisprudence a jeer by keep backing due procedure from three-quarterss of the population, and discounted instruction.

Exemplifying how the English adapted distressingly to the unusual new tropical universe they labored to command, The author points out on page ( 40 ) :

Seventeenth-century Englishmans attuned their lives to the conditions, to seasonal alteration, and to the one-year rhythm of birth, growing, adulthood, and decease. But in the West Indies, they found a year-around growth season, year-around summer, and year-round heat. They were used to a moderate clime: reasonably warm, reasonably cold, reasonably showery and reasonably cheery. But in the Torrid Zones they had to set their eyes to brilliant sunshine, and a pallet of sprinkling colourss: flora startlingly green, fruits and flowers in flaring reds and yellows, the mountains in shimmering blues and leafy vegetables, shadowing to deep purple, the Moon and stars beaming and scintillating at dark, and the encircling sea a spectrum of beady colourss form Co to silver. They found the Caribbean ambiance to be volatile: blaze heat all of a sudden relieved by reviewing showers, and soft cuddling breezes freakishly fade outing into wild and terrorizing storms. In clime, as in European power political relations, the Indies lay “ beyond the line. ”

The writer ‘s stylistic inventiveness particularly his to paradoxically narrate and depict the occurrences in the Caribbean during the disruptive epoch of the British plantation owners, broadens the reader ‘s analytical position of the English encroachers who did non travel to Virginia or Massachusetts but forced their manner into their bantam islands. On pages ( 337-38 ) He writes:

Despite. . . close contacts, the island-dwellers quickly diverged from the mainlanders, most peculiarly from the Puritan settlers in New England. . . . The New Englanders, through their legion elected offices and frequent town meetings, encouraged ( so about required ) every dweller to take part in public life, but in the Indies the large sugar plantation owners wholly dominated political relations. . . . In New England the immature were regardful to their seniors, repressed their stripling defiance, and frequently waited into their mid-thirtiess to get married and put up on their ain, while in the islands there were no seniors, the immature were in control, and many a plantation owner made his luck and died by age 30. In short, the Caribbean and New England plantation owners were polar antonyms ; they represented the outer bounds of English societal look in the 17th century.

Decision

This narrative clearly illustrates the dehumanising experience the Africans in Caribbean had to digest at the custodies of the English colonisers. The English plantation owners did non merely occupy the Caribbean, they conquered every facet of life the indigens had. They did off with the civilization, they rejected the thought of representation in the assemblies in order to change over the councils into platforms for the upper category, dismantled the reserves system because it interfered with sugar production, censored faith in order to forestall slave agitation, made common jurisprudence a jeer by keep backing due procedure from A? of the population, and discounted instruction.

The narrative is same on the head and lips of many Africans in the universe over as it is an existent representation of the occurrences in wide African society during the invasion and colonisation epoch. The writers daze and discouragement at the barbarous intervention meted on the Africans in the Caribbean by the British is wholly agreeable. It was dark period in the history of world although some have argued that the colonisers introduced civilisation in the African society and I wholly disagree. Their invasion did more injury if this narrative is anything to travel by.