Essay on Property

Words: 957
Pages: 4

Serena Crowder
October 13, 2010
AFAS 342-002 Yuxuf Abana
“It was a common enough tale; no one would think it a paradox.” From the very beginning, it is extraordinarily easy to step into the mind of the main character and narrator Manon Guadet and how the world she lives in becomes an eerie reality. Deeper throughout the novel, there are many themes presented through Manon’s eyes. Through the use of many paradoxes, the themes of racism, gender oppression and marriage in Property, by Valerie Martin is ultimately connected with the institution of slavery in America. The aristocratic life of the early 19th century is defined in the use of these themes through the pictures they create. Not only do the themes cause the novel to
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The hopefulness Manon has to get out of her horrid marriage and to move back home to New Orleans and Sarah’s attempt to escape her captivity of being a slave is another example of a paradox. Wanting to escape from slavery is not shocking to hear. The way slaves were treated so brutally creates a sense of sympathy very easily. On the contrary, it is difficult to develop sympathy for Manon Gaudet. While Sarah is putting action her to desires, Manon sits and does nothing. It is contradictory to have someone who is confined into slavery, which was much more severe than the gender discrepancies at the time, try to escape, than a woman tied down to a marriage she hopes to be set free of. You would think that slavery would have such a massive toll of hopes of a better life than a bad marriage. The paradox of a woman who does not even try to escape her marriage and the slave, who desperately tries, was the shocking reality of the time. Feeling helpless in a world, whether it was due from race or gender made it difficult to create a voice for yourself outside of your own mind. It is difficult to understand the reason behind Manon and the way she treated the slaves. Ultimately Manon and Sarah were having the exact feelings about their obviously different, but eerie similar situations. Slavery was looked upon as incredibly cruel and evil, and the underlying truth within Valerie Martin’s novel, is that