Some Memoirs of the Life of JOB

1026 words (4 pages) Essay in Literature

18/05/20 Literature Reference this

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Some Memoirs of the life of JOB written by Thomas Bluett takes place in the 1700s around the time of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The article displays Diallo’s journey of being captured, escaping, being brought to England, set free, and being sent back to his native land. This narrative reveals the more lenient side of slavery through the observation that with kindness and courtesy, more slaves could experience mercy (Bluett 1734).

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In February 1730 JOB’s father, the high priest of Boonda in Africa, “sent him, with two servants to attend him, to sell two Negroes” along with “Loumein Yoas, who understood the Mandingoe language…as his interpreter” because they would be crossing the country of Mandingoes, who were enemies to the Futa. Here Diallo was separated from his father when he and Loumein was taken in captivity by the Mandigoes (16). The Mandigoes shaved their heads to disguise their high social ranking and were put on the same ship as the slaves that they had just sold. Diallo’s attempt to contact his father had not reached him by the time the ship had sailed away. Diallo was sent to Maryland, being separated from his father, wife, and children. This effected the children and his wife because she would have to raise them on her own and they would not have a father-figure in their lives.

Due to the abundance of Africans who were brought to the mainland, there were many that “came from different cultures, spoke different languages, and practiced many religions” (Foner 2017, 113). The typical apathetic demeanor of masters made practicing religion and communication difficult for certain slaves. After Diallo is captured, he is purchased by a man, who owns tobacco fields on Kent Island, named Tolsey. He was put to work in the fields however, Tolsey concluded that JOB was not used to this type of labor. Unable to bear it, his master found easier work for him: tending the cattle. Here Diallo would frequently “withdrawal into the woods to pray” (20). While in the woods, a white boy would torment him, so JOB ran through the woods until he came upon the county of Kent. He was put in prison because he could not prove that he was a free man there. However, after encountering Thomas Bluett, who identified JOB as “no common slave” because of his “affable carriage, and the easy composure of his countenance,” Diallo was returned to Tolsey through an arrangement which gave JOB “a place to pray in…in order to make his slavery as easily as possible” (22). Likewise, through his benevolence and cooperation, he was able to gain advantages.

Diallo did not obtain any qualities similar to the typical slave. Because of his high social status, he had never experienced hard labor. However, he was cooperative, which resulted in “not [being] punished”, being “treated kindly”, and was able to “[learn] how to read and write”, which was atypical compared to most slaves (Chandler 2019). By not showing resistance to his labor, JOB acquired sympathy from his master.

JOB “knew both English and Arabic and could relate the Korean from memory,” which were very unusual talents, especially for a slave (Foner 2017, 113). To escape and be punished, such as “whipping”, was typical for slaves (Chandler 2019). However, despite his attempt to escape and then being put in prison, JOB was somehow ‘rewarded’ with benefits that lightened his labor and contributed to his religious practices. After escaping captivity with aid from patrons, Diallo reconciled with his freedom in 1733. Also, in 1733 he visited England and “became a celebrity” because of his unique qualities (Foner 2017, 113).

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By writing this narrative the author, Thomas Bluett, is informing the reader that it is possible to receive grace as a slave if one is humane. He conveys that although Diallo escaped and was captured once again, he was able to acquire benefits for himself through his background and credibility. Due to this narrative being written about Diallo by someone Bluett, we receive a primary source of information, however it is not Diallo’s point of view. Because of that, we lack the knowledge of what Diallo’s thoughts and feeling were throughout his journey. Some memoirs of the life of JOB was written towards northerners and abolitionists. Although Diallo did not encounter nearly as harsh as an experience compared to other slaves or indentured servants, he could still not bear the labor that he was put to do in the beginning of his experience. Attempting to escape his captivity shows that he did not support slavery, therefore he would be supporting the abolitionist, or anti-slavery movements. Through this narrative, Bluett hopes to share JOB’s journey and inform the audience that having a respectful demeanor can result in benefits for anyone.

Although history is not my preferred subject, I enjoyed reading this article because it was unique from any other slave journey that has been brought upon me. I was able to gain detailed knowledge of what slaves encountered throughout their journey. However, Diallo’s story arose curiosity because I have never read about a master treating their slave with kindness or supporting the slave’s different culture. It is also astonishing that Diallo could find freedom again, being sent back to his homeland after his captivity, along with becoming popular in England and interacting with the people of high status such as the royal family. I would recommend this article to a friend because it is an uncommon story compared to others. Overall, I would give this article a 5-star rating.

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