Slavery, The Royal Slave, And 17th Century Surinam

1875 WordsOct 5, 20178 Pages
Jordan Thomas English Novel I 2 October 2017 Michael Gavin Slavery and Racism in Behn’s “Oroonoko” and 17th Century Surinam Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave, a novel by Aphra Behn, is widely known as either the first or one of the earliest ever novels written in English. It is also particularly notable for being written by a professional female writer, containing a mostly abolitionist narrative, and featuring a white female narrator and a black hero- namely, a royal black hero. The novel, originally published in 1688, takes place in the 1660s in Surinam, a British colony in South America that utilizes enslaved Africans. While Oroonoko indeed encourages an overall critique of slavery and racism that took place in Surinam in the 17th…show more content…
In Stedman’s Surinam: Life in an Eighteenth-Century Slave Society, written by John Gabriel Stedman and published in 1796, Gabriel agrees with her on all counts: “A happy people I call [Indians] still, whose peace and native morals have not been soiled with mock Christianity. And on thing I know perfectly well, viz., that the native Indians of Guiana possess as few vices as any set of people existing under the sun, and are in their morals but little better for those Moravian preachers [...]” (pg. 165). However, in An impartial description of Surinam upon the continent of Guiana in America : with a history of several strange beasts, birds, fishes, serpents, insects, and customs of that colony, &c., by George Warren and published in 1667, Warren both agrees and disagrees with their respective statements statement: “Of the Indians who are a People Cowardly and Treacherous [...] go wholly naked, save a Flap for Modesty, which the Women, after having had a Child or two, throw off. [...] A happy people as to this world, if they were sensible of their own hap: Nature with little toyl providing all things which may serve its own necessities. The Women are generally lascivious, and some so truly hansom, as to Features and Proportion, that if the most Curious Symetrian had been there, he could not but suscribe to my opinion: and their pretty Bashfulness (especially while Virgins) in the

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