In Literature of American Minorities
This paper is being submitted on October 30, 2016 for Taylor Murphy’s G435/AML4680 Section 01 Literature of American Minorities
The memories and the mouth was a critical aspect in passing history to people in the world in ancient days. During that time there were no records kept. Therefore, people learned who they were and where they came from through the information that was passed to them by the world of mouth. This paper shows how formation was passed from generation to generation by an African American family.
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Root is a novel by Alex Haley. This novel explains how the history of humanity came to be as it is today. He uses an example of how the Africans American history came to be by the use of a Gambian young man who was captured and sent to Britain as a slave. The novel explains how his family and descendants came to be and how they moved from one country to the other during the time of slavery. This defines who the family of the young man, Kunta Kinte, was.
The novel starts with capturing of Kunta Kinte capturing and he was sold to John Waller and renamed as Toby. In the new place, Kunta tries to escape four times, and he is caught. He is given two options to choose from he prefers foot amputation to castration. Then he married the Bell and had a daughter who they called Kizzy. Because of his crippled state, he was turned to a driver. Kunta desired to have freedom, and he passed the same to his daughter Kizzy. Kizzy follows her father’s tradition and learns more about the African language (Haley, and Dyson, 2007). However, she helps many slaves escape, and she is then sold to Tom Lea as a punishment. Tom Lea rapes hers and bears a son whom she devotes as an African descendant. Kizzy teacher her son the African heritage and instills in him the dream of African freedom. The son is named George.
George grew to manhood and followed his father’s work. Lea loved cockfighting and carousing. George becomes a good trainer of gamecocks which led to his nickname Chicken George. He desired to be free one day. One day Lea lost a bet that made him loose Chicken George. He promised Chicken George that he would give him hi papers when he gets back. When Chicken returned, Lea did as he promised and he was freed. Unfortunately, his mother died when he was away. However, he purposed to reunite his family who had been sold to the Murray by Lea. He gathers his family and relates them to their family narrative.
After the civil war, the family moved to Tennessee. When George died, Tom Murray, the Chicken George son, took his position and taught his children about the importance of family and tradition. Tom daughter, Cynthia, and others took the idea upon them and spread the family information to their children. Bertha, Cynthia’s daughter, showed very little interest in family narrative and went away to college to become the first family member to go to college. In college, she met and married Simon Haley. They got a son and named him Alexander Haley
The novel is used to describe who we are as mentioned above. It explains how information about families has been passed from one generation to the other to define the family tree and associate people with others. The family narrative of Kunta Kinte is well maintained and passed to the families orally. The white people kept their records, but the slaves kept no record at all. They just passed their narratives from one generation to the other orally. For example, Kunta passes the information on how he was captured and moved to America to her daughter Kizzy. He also teaches her some African words.
The other thing that is focused on the novel is the quest for freedom by the slaves. Upon arrival to America, Kunta tried to escape for four times which made him crippled. His family had the desire to be free though it did not come until when Lea lost in a bet to lose Chicken George. Chicken George was freed when he went back to Lea. They moved to Tennessee after they gained their freedom. Up to the time, the family gained freedom they had not lost their African family heritage. However, upon gaining freedom, the family narrative was lost the education made the members ignore and get more integrated into the country.
In conclusion, I can conclude that oral communication in the early days was a vital method of communication from one generation to the other. The family of Kunte managed to retain and pass information from one person to the other for many generations after Kunte’s death. This was the only way people could pass information. Therefore, memory played a very big role in making communication. The family had to remember the narrative and pass it to other members of the family. However, interest to pass the information also played an important role to the passing of the narrative to offspring. Bertha had no interest in the story and therefore she did not share it with the others.
Therefore, the memories and the mouth were vital in communication and holding information about people. It provided information about the origin and the way people lived to be where they are today. Through memory and mouth, people understand why they are affiliated to some communities. This is because many people agreed to hold and pass information to the people when the recording was not possible.