Race separation and hierarchy has been a big part of our world history and is still a problem in some countries. In the older days, race decided whether you were a human being or just a “tool” to others advantage. In the 1800 century was there a change in the American history, where slaves were becoming freemen, and the short story “The Whipping Boy” describes in fiction how it may or may not have been in the change of history. The whipping boy concerns a family slavery farm, where they have three slaves Mikey, Tommy and Martha. One day on the farm a boy from the Union comes to the farm and breaks the news, that they are freemen and they can do whatever they want. The news thrills Mikey and Tommy, but Martha is still a bit insecure about the situation, because she is taking care of the old Mrs. Gage, who lives on the farm with her son Master Sterling Gage. Master Sterling Gage is not at the farm when the news arrives, and Martha is therefore concerned for old Mrs.
Gage, that she will starve to death. The three slaves stays on the farm, and one day, when Mikey is laying on the couch inside his former masters house, with a bottle of bourbon, Master Sterling Gage returns home and catches Mikey in the act. He gets furious and hits him. Master Sterling Gage goes out of the house, to saddle his horse because he has to go into town, but Tommy and Mikey attacks him from behind and nearly kills him. Martha breaks it off, and they escape instead, they do not make it far until some confederate soldiers stop them, and they kill the three freed slaves. The story is set in the middle of the 1800th, which also in real time had meaning in history. The civil American war started in 1861. It all started when several states abolished slavery. The new president Abraham Lincoln wanted all states to be free from slavery, but some states disagreed, they resigned from the Union and became the confederate states with Jefferson Davis in front as their president. Now there was two opposite poles against each other, and the civil war began.
The war resulted in releasing all the slaves in the confederate states also. A confederate fanatic murdered Abraham Lincoln a week after the war was over, but he died a hero to many.1 This you easily can relate to the short story “The Whipping Boy”. A boy from the union (Abraham Lincoln’s side) informs the slaves that they are freemen and they starts a riot on the farm” It was the day after the boy from the Union had come to the farm to let the slaves know they were freemen”2. Afterwards they escape the farm but bumps into some confederate soldiers (Jefferson Davis’ side) that later on kills the free slaves. “Tommy was shot when he drew Sterling Gage’s pistol while they were being questioned. “3 You get this information, probably to relate to the real time history, when confederate soldiers still thought that race should be a main key in the society, and there should be no changes made. We follow in our short three slaves: Tommy, Mikey and Martha.
Tommy and Mikey are working in the field, while Martha is inside their master’s house, serving the old Mrs. Gage. Martha and Mikey have had an affair, but their master Sterling Gage have been beating Mikey, when he found out. Martha is the quiet one, with most sympathy among the three slaves. She is the one begging Mikey and Tommy not to kill Master Sterling Gage, when they are beating him up “”Mikey,” Martha Begged, still pulling at Tommy’s arm, “Tell him to stop””4. Tommy and Mikey on the other hand is very straightforward, they want revenge for the things that they have been experiencing through the years on the farm “He had grown alongside Sterling as a young boy and had considered him a friend until the day Sterling had pilfered some sugar from the larder.”5 Master Gage Sterling is the person running the farm. He owns it, but is away allot and must therefore have Martha taking care of his old and demented mother Mrs. Gage.
He has this static controlling aura, and makes the reader fear him. The short story makes the reader feel sorry for the slaves; because it is from their point of view, it is written. We hear about how tragic Mikey’s childhood was at the farm, and how they have to work hard every day to serve their master. When they then escape from the farm, the reader feels that justice has been done, but then feels sympathy with the slaves, when the confederate soldiers slaughter them. “The Whipping Boy” is a short story, which we can relate to a certain time in history. We can draw lines to the real world and see a connection and in the short story, it is the same people it is about and the same characters, and titles on the persons. Slavery is a problem still but the time in the 1800th was a time of big changes, and have been a very important landmark through history.