In order to appreciate the sufferings of the Negroes sold south, it must be remembered that all the instinctive affections of that race are perticularly strong. Their local attachments are very abiding. They are not naturally daring and enterprising, but home-loving, and affectionate. Add this to all the terrors with which ignorance invests the unknown, and add this , again, that selling to the south is set before the Negro from childhood as the last severity of punishment. The threat that terrified more than whipping or torture of any kind is the threat of being sent down river. We have ourselves heard this feeling expressed by them, and seen by them, and seen the unaffected horror with which they will sit in their gossiping hours, and tell frightful stories of that “down river,” which to them is
“That undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveler returns.”
This paragraph I specifically liked, because it helps us to understand what Tom was going through. Apparently, death was a better alternative to getting sent south. From childhood, black children were warned about getting sent south.
This book was written at a time where slavery was still around, and many people considered blacks property. That is why the author tries here to explain the emotions that a slave being sent south would have experienced; It’s possible the owners had no idea that they feared it!
Also, this paragraph feels the need to express the fact that “Negros” have “affections” that are “particularly strong.” Basically, they have feelings. This sounds more like something that would be told to a kindergartener about his classmate, not an author having to express the idea in a novel for a whole class of educated whites!
We learned in class that many people had legitimate beliefs that blacks were “sub-human,” but the fact that they had emotions is something that we would assume they would know. Even animals at that time, and before this time, were known to have emotions and feelings.