Suffering in Harriet Wilson's Our Nig Essay

1183 Words 5 Pages
Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig is a novel that presents the harshness of racial prejudice during the 19th century combined with the traumas of abandonment. The story of Frado, a once free-spirited mulatto girl abandoned by her white mother, unfolds as she develops into a woman. She is faced with all the abuse and torment that Mrs. Belmont, the antagonist, could subject her to. Still she survives to obtain her freedom. Through the events and the accounts of Frado’s life the reader is left with a painful reality of the lives of indentured servants. Though the novel is not told from Frado’s perspective, her story becomes more sympathizing and sentimental from a third person narrative. Wilson uses her supporting characters to express Frado’s …show more content…
She falls into despair but she recovers. She does not try to run away nor does she rebel against the authority of Ms. Belmont. She is obedient for most of her younger years. Moreover Fido, her puppy becomes her only “faithful friend” and she often confided in this pet as a source of comfort. She is recalled by Aunt Abby as saying “You love me, Fido, don't you?” (54). Frado like every child wants to be loved. Being abandoned by her mother will have a longer lasting effect on Frado, one that she never recovers from. Still, a more pivotal moment of Frado’s development occurs after James’ death. In chapter nine, Frado is overcome with grief at the sight of James on his death bed. “Sinking on her knees at the foot of his bed, she buried her face in the clothes and wept like one inconsolable.” At the sight of James’s final departure and at the funeral Frado relinquishes her will to live. With his burial she wishes for her own death yet does not think she is worthy of going to heaven. It is this event that snaps Frado’s obedience. Soon after James’ death in chapter 10 she halts Ms. Belmont’s attempt to beat her. Frado shouts, “ ‘Stop!, strike me, and I'll never work a mite more for you,’ and throwing down what she had gathered, stood like one who feels the stirring of free and independent thoughts” (75). Such a blatant act of defiance only foreshadows Frado’s service coming to an end. Wilson’s depiction of James’ death is not as sad as it could have been because even

Related Documents