This paper example "Book Review for Song Yet Sung by James McBride" will provide insight into the extended family concept as pictured in the book. McBride did a very good job of showing the plight of slaves as they moved through the underground railroad…
The reader meets Liz Spocott. She is on the run in the beginning of the book and the reader never finds out why she is on the run, but she ends up in Patty Cannon’s attic recovering from a musket ball shot to the head. In this attic, after a short time, she is taught the Code. The Code is the major communication for the slaves and it shows who can be trusted and who cannot. The Code was something the slaves developed so they could move around secretly without white people knowing what was going on. The Code brought her many things including flint to make a fire, food, water, and clothing. Liz was generally well taken care of by people along the way who also knew the Code. Beyond the verbal Code, there was a nonverbal Code. Two examples of this were to wear the left pant leg rolled up, and to draw a symbol in the dirt; both of these symbols told that the person could be trusted. Amber was a character that has a sister Mary. He longs to run to freedom but he knows that Mary will not go because she likes it at the Sullivan’s home. In fact, Mary was be the reason later in the book that Amber is caught because she will tell the character called The Gimp to look out for him and let him know he is with Liz There were no specific family in this book but the strength of African American people was a theme throughout the book. When Liz first goes to Patty’s attic after she is captured by another slave, Big George, she has already escaped. with a fighting attitude. She wants to get away from slavery, but her dreams have told her that there is not a lot of freedom for blacks in the future. She meets the Women with No Name who begins to teach her the Code. This is a strong African American woman who tries to escape with the others in the attic but knows that she will not make it and asks to be laid next to a creek where she can die. Many slaves in the book had an extended family that was not a blood relation. This was because most slave families were sold so they could not stay together. According to the textbook, slaves depended on families for their strength, especially when they understood that their family was “out there” and they could perhaps be reunited. In the book, all of the slaves seemed to be a part of a large extended family. The Woolman had learned to trade of hunting from his mother before she died and was able to live in the woods without interference from the whites for 19 years. If his son had not become ill, he would not have taken him to town and the whites probably would not have found them. He was also a part of the slave network. Amber was an integral part of the underground railroad and this helped him and other slaves build the kinship network that spanned to many farms in and outside the area. The Old Woman with No Name took care of the people who came to Miss Patty’s attic, but she could not stop them from being raped by Big George; Liz had the strength to do this. The slaves were also very strong because they kept their faith. Their faith taught them that they would be free one day and they just had to hold on. The slave network also took the place of a typical family because it provided food, shelter and nurturing as much as it could. ...
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