The treatment of black people during this time is incredibly disturbing. History classes don't even go near the true detail and horror of the slave trade or slavery. Throughout the entire book slaves are compared and treated like cattle. I think the most disturbing part is when the schoolteacher is documenting the measurements of the slaves body parts. The slaves lives run parallel with that of a farm animal and in many cases end the same way. Hanging from a tree reminds me of how you slaughter a cow. My family has a cattle farm in Oglethorpe County and we slaughter a cow once a year. We have to hang it from the tree as one of the first steps to complete the slaughter. The comparison of man and beast is only amplified with the sexual relationship between the slave men and the animals. It puts them on the same playing field as the animals.
I loved the book. It was amazing. My favorite character by far was Denver. I think she was the most interesting character. To me she was the one person who had the most to fear. The older black characters in the book had already lived through the horrors of slavery and have now found peace with themselves. Denver is just beginning her struggles and although she has never known slavery I think she has the most to fear. She has to fear her mother who killed her sister and almost succeeded killing her. I don't understand why people really didn't care that much that she killed her daughter (I certainly don't think her reasoning was enough to justify the infanticide). Denver's family is ever changing as well. She is haunted by a ghost as long as she can remember and yet she doesn't fear it. When the ghost is reincarnated and becomes human like her Denver fears her. Amazingly she handles all of this, finds a job and begins to get an education. She is by far the strongest character in the book.