Exposition on Sugar Mill Owners And Slavery

Fr André João Antonil How the Sugar Mill Owner Ought to Treat His Slaves

Regarding the necessity of formulating the assiduous comprehensibility which could lead to the constitution of better cognizance concerning the entire factor of cogency of the mentioned source, the significance of a deliberative approach is palpable. The process of interpretative discernment of the academic strengths and weaknesses of analysis which could be ascertained from the detailed study of the provided source, has to be construed in a specific and purposive manner. Concerning the counsel provided by Fr. André João Antonil, in tandem with the simultaneous and coherent as well as instructive information which have been expounded by the same author, one specific aspect regarding the objective of the composition of this entire informative account could be recognised. Furthermore, the exposition of the capability of providing a minute and expansive as well as informative account in terms of factor based historic accuracy. This could be considered as one of the most prominent strengths of the developed literature by Fr. André João Antonil, in the specified book containing discussion about the behaviour of the owners of the sugar mills and the slaves whom they also owned. In this respect, there could be identified two further strengths of this developed literature by the author under consideration. The initial one is reflective of the fact that the emphasis of the author, in the specific and concise excerpt provided from the entire book on the aforementioned topic, is firmly on the prospect of the supposed moral corrective approaches concerning the inhumanity meted out to the slaves by their owners and masters. This could, however, not possible to be considered to be an academic strength of the entire literature excerpt from the book since the objectivity aspect concerning the research based narrative of the author under consideration has been absent completely. On the contrary, the entire excerpt is replete with the personal insights and preferences of the author from a supposed moralistic standpoint. According to Brewer (2015), this could be interpreted in the form of moral rectitude based propositions which the author has been keen on propagating concerning the overall behavioural and attitudinal approaches which the sugar mill owners have been consistently exhibiting towards their slaves, which, as has been researched by the author, have been bordering on the sadistic and of extreme brutality. This, in turn, brings forth the consideration that the author has been overtly considerate and concerned regarding the mode and nature of behaviour which the sugar mill owners have been meeting out to the enslaved working populace at the Southern American continent. According to Huzzey (2016), this specific emphasis upon the different measures of plight of the slaves and the causality being interpreted to be associated with the mode of torment and exploitation, is of particular academic interest from the perspective of the overall book which could be understood to have been formulated under the nomenclature of “Children of God’s Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil”. The above mentioned excerpt is primarily reflective of the overall history of evolution of the trends and effects of slavery at the Southern American continent, especially at the country of Brazil. This historical narrative is completely demonstrative of the graphic details of the brutalities and deprivations to which the enslaved sugar plantation workers have been forced to work by their dominating owners. A study of racism and barbaric practice of slavery, reminiscent of the mediaeval age could be ascertained in a pointed yet subtle manner from the above excerpt. Thus, it is definitely a powerful text in terms of informative delineation and individual trend representation of the topic under consideration within this entire literature analysis. This could thus be categorised as one of the strengths of the book. According to McCreery (2016), another strength of this excerpt from the previously mentioned book could be understood in the manner of the representation of the divisions of the working responsibilities which could be observed in terms of the sets of skills, experiences and even gender identities of the slaves who had to toil under the whip of their sugar plantation owners at Brazil. In this context, the near perfect depiction of the various categories of work responsibilities which could be identified to have been associated with those of the sugar plantations of the era under consideration in the book excerpt could be identified to be one of the strengths of the source, the author and the aforementioned book, as well. This observation could be further lent credence by the fact that clear differentiation between the various work responsibilities such as utilisation of particular instruments such as scythes and hoes as well as the utilisation of more critical instruments such as axes has been put forward by the author so as to put things in perspective regarding the actualities on the


ground and the particularities which could be identified to be the core constituents of the inner lives of such slaves working at the sugar plantations. Such observations, as per the opinions of Money and Xidas (2017), could provide a clarified indication that the social denominations as well as the dominant perceptions concerning the social stratifications, both at the individualistic as well as the class formation levels. One significant aspect in this regard could be outlined in the manner of acculturation of slaves who could be working for very long durations at those sugar plantations from a very early age as well as those who could have been second generation slaves, born to parents who had been slaves themselves, at the sugar plantation sites. The division of labour and the particular behaviour which could be observed to be meted out to the slaves associated with those labour divisions are clearly comprehensible regarding the perception of the different predicaments in this regard. The impact of acculturation and cultural transformation as well as domination could be thus contended to have been well represented by the author. This representation could be further indicative of the macabre yet definitive propositions of the author that the most acculturated slaves, who could resemble their masters, to be valued regarding the worth of at least four new slaves. This has been indicative of the lingering influence of the ancient barter system of valuation of products and services. Only in such cases which have been aptly represented in the narrative section penned by Fr. André João Antonil, the valuation process has been contemplated to be associated with the supposed utilitarian value of one human being in comparison with other human beings. According to Parham (2018), this is closely reflective of the fact that no ascending social mobility factor could be identified in terms of the overall existence of the slaves, regardless of the qualitative aspects associated with such slaves. This is primarily a different expression of the core aspects of the overarching philosophical context and financial objectives which have been integral to the concept of slavery. Under such concepts, the human beings, who could be enslaved for the purpose of exploitation of their capabilities of labouring under the auspices of the sugar plantations and the associated mills owned by white Caucasoid European colonialists at both the Northern and Southern halves of the American continent, could only be reduced to any mere unit of economic instrumentation and to the levels of human tools for utilisation to generate complete and absolute surplus value of labour from every perspective. The commodification of human lives has been appropriately and succinctly summed up through the provided excerpt from the abovementioned book by the previously mentioned author. These could be extensively considered to be the strengths of the piece of the book excerpt mentioned hereof.

However, the inevitable perspectives of weaknesses, at least from the academic standpoints, concerning the book under consideration, could be palpable as well. One such weakness, from the opinion of Polanco (2018), could be considered to be the aforementioned overt tone of moral rectitude, which, could be, in turn, interpreted as an instrument to completely whitewash or condone the practice of actual slavery and only address the symptoms of this greater malpractice which had been prevalent during that period of time at Latin America. The entire narrative is completely centred around the perspective that slaves should be treated better and it does not reflect the modern sensibility regarding the corrosive effects of slavery with the measure of inhumane brutality which has been so graphically recounted by the author under consideration at the excerpt narrative which is at the centre of the concerned study discussion. Apart from this, another weakness of the narrative could be determined from the perspective that the religious undertones of the author, as a priest of the Jesuit order, could not move beyond the moral overtures regarding the necessity to halt the inhuman and derogatory treatments of the slaves owned by sugar mills and plantation owners and the author fails to take into consideration that the actual complication in this regard is completely embedded into the politico-financial practices to perpetuate slave labour and the revenue as well as the production generated from that with the extensive emphasis on the institutionalisation of the commodification of the human lives in form of the enslaved populaces at Brazil. This could be considered to be one of the prevalent shortcomings of the entire observation of the author which subscribes to the prevalent cultural as well as socio-economic structure of slave labour utilisation and associated exploitation of the human capital at any given point of time.

According to Smith (2018), this brings into focus the context of the structure of power and socio-economic status quo prevalent at that era which has been mentioned in the book excerpt by the author under consideration. The primary contextual basis and the theme of the writing in this regard could be outlined as the status and situations related to the evolution of slavery at Latin America, especially at Brazil. The context could be further expanded into the consideration concerning the concurrent practices of multidimensional slavery, including various generations and different forms of bondages to which the slaves used to be subjected to during their tenures of enslaved labourers at either the sugar plantations or at the sugar mills owned by the European business personnel. Further, the actualities of the context could be considered to be the supposed appropriateness through which the slaves could be treated by their masters. The previously mentioned entire book has actually been developed on the structural study of the history of slavery in a definite documentary format. The fact of transformation of the mostly enslaved African populace into the stereotypical formats of traits which could be appreciated or necessitated by their owners, has been concisely alluded to by the author in the form of the process of acculturation. According to Weaver (2018), this specific social process involves the gradual by in-depth of the dissolution of the native cultural aspects of the enslaved personnel and complete dominance of their cultural horizons by the European colonial traditions. The author has directly pointed it out through the references of selection of the slaves who were considered to be of greater value regarding their particular skill sets and experiences, from the acculturated or culturally conditioned social perspectives. The work processes which these slaves used to be engaged could be ascertained as being boiler men, carpenters and caulkers as well as vat keepers and being sailors and boatmen to serve the transportation networks. The source, in this context, is precise regarding the recording of the primary financial reasoning for the perpetuity and institutional practices of slavery for the purpose of cost of labour for the production of sugar and other significant consumables. The associated agony suffered by the slaves in the forms of punishment for, what could be considered by their owners as serious offences and what could be comprehended by the Jesuit priest Fr. André João Antonil as minor shortcomings and offenses, has been put into words by the author under consideration. The purpose, from the perspective of the author, is to spell out the methods through which the supposed humanistic treatment of the slaves by their masters and owners could be performed which could be considered to be somewhat moralistic and ethical in the overall approach.

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Reference List

  • Brewer, S., 2015. The African Atlantic Slave Trade in Latin America. In Latin American History Goes to the Movies (pp. 78-89). Routledge.
  • Huzzey, R., 2016. Disease, Resistance, and Lies: The Demise of the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Brazil and Cuba by Dale Graden. Labor, 13(3-4), pp.235-237.
  • McCreery, D., 2016. The Sweat of Their Brow: A History of Work in Latin America: A History of Work in Latin America. Routledge.
  • Money, D. and Xidas, J., 2017. The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. Macat Library.
  • Parham, A.A., 2018. Book review: Slavery and Silence: Latin America and the US Slave Debate.
  • Polanco, H.D., 2018. Indigenous peoples in Latin America: the quest for self-determination. Routledge.
  • Smith, P.H., 2018. Latin America in comparative perspective: new approaches to methods and analysis. Routledge.
  • Weaver, F., 2018. Latin America in the world economy: Mercantile colonialism to global capitalism. Routledge.

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