Essay on Enforcers of Despair

Submitted By ksharvey13
Words: 1173
Pages: 5

Many people are caught up in their own lifestyle whether it is slow, fast, stressful, or happy. Lifestyles determine a person's drive in life. Such a drive is portrayed in Gary Paulson's descriptive novel, Night John. There are two different forms of culture or lifestyles in Night John. These Contrasts can not only be connected to today's society from the book, but there are also examples of culture differences in the text. Gary Paulson does a wonderful job of connecting the cultures by using descriptive and accomplished themes such as: love, hope, despair, and persistence. These themes can also guide the reader to realize other things that could be happening behind the scenes that differentiate the cultures between slave and master. The themes in Night John don't only differentiate the cultures of today and 1700's, but it also contrasts the cultures within the book. The story of Night John is filled to the brim with both instances of love and hate. Gary Paulsen uses these themes to depict the life style of the African Americans and the Caucasians. The Caucasians hate the slaves and treat them terribly. They demonstrate their hate by being cruelly beating them. The slave masters, trying to make them work harder, clearly only make their slaves become even slower. Not only do the Masters hate their slaves, but the slaves hate their masters. In secret the African American would call then "dog crap" and things such as that. They had no respect for their masters outside of the world they were forced to live in with the whip.
The love and hate that is depicted in Night John was not only true in that time period, but it is also portrayed in today's society. Men and women of different races and colors are still discriminated against and some are even forced to give up opportunities. Even though America is meant to be the land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that is not always the case. American's still experience the same difficulty but in minor reflections.
The ability to hope is not simple. The slaves in Night John had their hope stripped from them the moment they were born. Yes, they had the ability to dream and wish for something better, but they knew that they would never achieve what they wanted. They didn't have a pursuit of happiness while the Caucasians did. Caucasians had everything given to them. They had nice homes, the ability to read and write, and they had slaves that they could make do anything they wanted.
Hope from this story can also be related to modern day. There are many who are forced to be slaves to chains of poverty. Poverty is a slavery that binds all hope and happiness. Millions of men women and children are forced to endure poverty. Though they do not have a direct master to answer to, they have their families to take care of and answer to. Just like the slaves, people in poverty have no hope beyond a vague sense of a possibility to one day escape the cruel grip of slavery. Though hope seems to be desperate, despair is even beyond that. Despair is an extreme loss of hope combined with longing for what is known will never occur. Despair is very prevalent throughout Night John. Alice, a slave who had tried to escape demonstrates this. She was about to be sent into the breeding houses and she wanted nothing more than to escape that dreadful place. She tried to run but she was caught, attacked by dogs, stripped, beaten, and barely escaped the terribly claws of death. Her despair led to her commit a so called crime even though she knew she would more than likely be caught by her treacherous master, Waller. Waller enforces the despair upon his poor slaves while he gives his family all their necessities and beyond that. So while the slaves were forced to endure despair, the Whites could have anything and everything they wanted.
The despair that Alice demonstrated in Night John is very applicable to the lifestyles in modern day. Many people have lost a desire to live and only see life