The Whipping Boy

1280 words 6 pages
”The Whipping Boy” written by Richard Gibney

One of the most important events in the history of the United States of America is the Civil War from 1861-65. The war started because of the issue of slavery. It was a war where only America participated; it was a war between the Northern states, called the Union, and the Southern slave states, the Confederate States of America. The Union wanted to get rid of slavery in the USA, but the Confederacy did not want this, mostly because a lot of them owned slaves and needed them in their production of cotton. The war ends with a massive surrender of the Confederacy, 620.000 soldiers were killed and the slaves are free men, or are they really? The short story ”The Whipping Boy” written by Richard
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The timespan of the short story is a few weeks, approximately 3 weeks. It cannot have taken long for Sterling to get back from the war, after the slaves hear the message of their freedom from the abolitionist child. The climax of the short story is definitely when Mikey whips Sterling. Finally the black slaves are able to punish their master for the bad treatment of them as slaves. Then the closed ending comes with the death of all three slaves that leaves you sad and makes you think about how things like this only happened 150 years ago.

A 3rd person narrator tells the short story. It is an objective narrator, so the narrative technique bears the stamp of only movements and actions from the slaves. This makes the narrator quite reliable, because we do not only hear the story from one point of view, but we get the story from a person, who is not a character.

The main theme in the short story is of course the complexity of slaves. It is already shown in the first line about the abolitionist boy, who speaks of freedom, but one of the more important parts is how the dogs have family names, but the slaves do not: “Rex and Shepherd Gage…by Gage’s Mikey and and Gage’s Tommy…”. This shows how the dogs are a part of the Gage family, but the slaves are not, even though they have always been there. This is the major theme of the short story, but there are some minor themes, like jealousy. This is shown by how Sterling does not allow


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