Anti-Slavery Narratives- The Negro’s Complaint
I did some research on William Cowper after I read “The Negro’s Complaint” and I found out that he actually wrote alot of anit-slavery poems. One of his friend’s John Newton, who was a former slave trader who reformed into an evangelical Christian asked him to write in support of the abolisionist campaign. Cowper’s other poems attacked the economical aspect of slavery, the belief of the time being that is was economically viable.
The narrator in “The Negro’s Complaint” is a slave taken from Africa by the English. What surprized me most was that the narrator was not angry. Instead he seems, calm and calculated in his words, speaking from the heart and appeals to the emotions of his captors. He tells them that while the colour of thier skins may be different “affection Dwells in white and black the same.” The narrator also wants to reason with the captors calling into question thier actions before God. He asks if the God commanded them to steal him from his family and country, which obviously is not something God would do. In the close of the poem the narrator asks his captors to look inside themselves and find thier own feelings before questioning the slaves emotions.
Personally, I think the way this peom is written is different from other anti-slavery poems. Other ones I have read have had an under-current of anger and that seems to cloud the rational mind. This narrator is likely angry but that doesn’t come across strongly in the poem.
Not going to lie this blog was the hardest one for me to write, and Im not sure why. Probabely because Im not highly educated in abolishionist movements and I never know what to say.