Date of this Version
Jeffers, Nydia Rosanna. El protagonista negro en la narrativa antiesclavista latinoamericana del siglo XIX. PhD Diss. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2013.
Abolitionist literature published in Latin America in the 19th century has received considerable critical attention, much of it focused on the reader’s compassionate response to the alienated slave, such as Sab. However, little known works sometimes end with the slave’s nonviolent rebellion being rewarded. For example, in the short story “La Sibila de los Andes” (1840) by Fermín Toro the fugitive slave survives as a free woman. In the novel Florencio Conde (1875) by José María Samper, the slave negotiates with the master to obtain his freedom and eventually becomes wealthy. These works promote the abolitionist cause because in them the slave’s individuality is rewarded, providing an effective contrast to the caricature of the slave as buffoon, demon or animal, denounced by Lemuel Johnson. Other texts use traditional slave stereotypes but also demonstrate their protagonists’ individual choices, such as the tragic mulatta Carmela in “Carmela” (1887) by Ramón Meza y Suárez Inclán, the exotic Manuela in Manuela (1856) by Eugenio Díaz Castro and the brutal black man Epaminondas del Cauca in Historia del perínclito Epaminondas del Cauca (1863) by Antonio Irisarri. Even the brutal black man in the short story “El ranchador” (1856) by Pedro Morillas has individual characteristics. It is significant that these texts present positive options for the enslaved. They communicate the antislavery, anti-racist message in an exemplary manner. Therefore, the Latin American antislavery genre includes texts that portray black slaves who decide their own economic and personal future, disputing the destiny predetermined by the master.
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