An Analysis of Paul Laurence Dunbar's 'The Ingrate'

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Introduction While it may be entirely true that knowledge is power, knowledge combined with forethought and planning may be an unbeatable combination. Whenever one group of people have been subjugated by another, great effort is directed at preventing the accumulation of knowledge and subverting opportunities for forethought and planning by those who are subjugated. One of the ways that a dominate group can subjugate another group is by saying one thing while meaning another in effect, the actions of the dominate group manifest the human hypocrisy. In this story, both the antagonist Mr. Leckler and the protagonist Josh speak and act in hypocritical ways. When historians discuss colonialism and slavery, the question frequently arises: Why didn't more slaves revolt? In fact, the Western hemisphere experienced many uprisings and revolutions by people who had been made slaves. One of the primary methods by which these revolutions took place was surprise. Categorically speaking, slave owners acted as though they expected their system of subjugation to continue within a thin band of the status quo. The methods used to keep slaves from overwhelming the slave owners were cruel, demoralizing, but they were not entirely debilitating. Slave owners did cause slaves to become more cunning, more cooperative, and more persistent in their efforts to gain freedom. The short story, The Ingrate by Paul Laurence Dunbar tells the story of a slave owner and a slave, both of whom deceive

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