Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family–Journal Writing Prompt #4

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alex haley's roots: the saga of an american family reverse descrimination argument

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If you’re in Mrs. Sparhawk’s advanced reading class, this will be your journal question for Wednesday:

Describe three black characters and three white characters from the novel, Roots. Which characters are more likeable? Which characters are more detestable? Why do you think Alex Haley created his characters like this? What purpose did it serve? How do you think Haley’s audience responded to his characters? Do you think any readers were offended by his characterization? In what ways would readers find offense?

When considering all the trauma and tragedy thrust upon Africans who were enslaved, is Alex Haley justified in painting this picture of whites and enslaved blacks from this period in history? What’s your honest opinion?

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One response »

  1. The first of the three black people is Fiddler. Fiddler is one of Kunta’s friends on the second Waller plantation Kunta has been on. When they first met, Kunta was offended when Fiddler called him “nigger”,as Fiddler being a so called “High-Yaller” Kunta thought he was intentionally offending him but turned out a good friend. The next black person I am going to list is Samson. Samson at first on the way to the plantation offering Kunta a piece of bread I thought he was going to be sort of what Fiddler was going to be but turned out to be one of Kunta’s worst enemies on the first Waller plantation he was on cause of Kunta trying to choke him when trying to escape. The third black person is Bell. Bell is Kunta’s spouse toward the middle of the story on the second Waller plantation leading to a child called Kizzy.Bell was sort of a friend in the begining of Kunta’s stay at the second Waller plantation when she had treated him when he had recently had his foot cut off. Bell and Fiddler are the black people that are more likable. Samson,even though he had a good reason to hate Kunta, he is still more detestable than others. Now I will name some of the white people in the story. Master Waller from the first plantation Kunta was on. He seemed like a cruel master cause of the way he had his overseer beat the black slaves as often as he could, and sending cruel slave-hunters after him and I think instead of them cutting off his foot on the excuse that Kunta had tried to kill them(which however was true) the old master had ordered them to cut off Kunta’s foot. The second white person I am going to name is the second Master Waller. He had gotten enraged about what his brother(the first Master Waller) had done to Kunta so much that he had bought him from his brother. Kunta over the years after Luther, the master’s former driver, has been Master Waller’s driver. The next white person I’m going to name is Miss Anne. Miss Anne is the niece of Kunta’s second Master Waller and the daughter of the first Master Waller. Kunta’s daughter has befriended Miss Anne over the years. The more likable white people are the second Master Waller and Miss Anne. The first Master Waller. I think that Alex Haley wrote these charecters this way to show the trauma and I think no one would really be offendedby this because that is how people were back there.

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