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OurNig by Harriet Wilson

Longbefore the abolishment of slavery, many of the black Americanssuffered at the hands of their white masters. They were expected tobe loyal, remain dutiful and obedient to their masters, many of thisindividuals were employed in the farms while others worked in thehouses to attend to the needs of their masters. In many cases, mostof these slaves were mistreated and heavily punished for committinglight mistakes. The book Our Nig by Harriet Wilson is one such bookthat illustrates the plight of the black slaves in the hands of theirwhite masters. This paper, therefore, is composed of comments onFrodo`s newly discovered assertiveness and independence. It alsogives an opinion on whether she can be viewed as a hero, for shemanaged to survive the hard conditions of slavery (Newman 65).

Fradofound herself a slave after the death of their father when theirmother got married to a white man for she was tired of the way shewas being looked down upon by her fellow whites. Frado was handedover to Mrs. Baltimore who was so cruel to her and mistreated herdespite her young age. She was constantly scolded, wiped and abusedfor no genuine reasons, mainly because her master and her daughterdisliked blacks whom, they referred to as &quotnigars&quot orpeople of color. In spite of the Mrs. Bellmont and her daughter`shatred and ill-treatments to Frado, she was often sympathized by Mr.Bellmont and his son James, who protected her whenever they werearound. Their presence, therefore, freed Frado from beatings andscolding from Mrs. Baltimore (Araújo 29). Frado found her firstindependence when she was allowed to eat on the same plate as theBellmont’s, but ironically she gave the plate first to her dogFido, which was given to her by James who had realized how lonely shewas during that time (de Leon 98). By giving the plate to the dog,she wanted to express her assertiveness and anger towards the way shewas being treated at the Baltimore`s house. According to her, shethought she as being compared to a dog which was an infringement onher rights as a human being as indicated in the bill of rights.

Thesecond form of assertiveness and independence that Frado reflects inthe novel is that she leaves the Bellmont’s house to attend theteachings in the church, this is an opportunity she utilizes so as tolearn how to read and write. The ability to read and write is a formof independence, as being able to read, relieves one from beingignorant. Her ability to read therefore helped her deliver theinformation to Mrs. Bellmont concerning the death of his children.The ability to write may also guarantee her the freedom to expressherself and opinion in the form of writings (de Leon 46). Onrealizing that Frado attends lessons, Mrs. Bellmont becomes furiousand prohibits her from living the house unless she has an errand.

Afterthe death of Mrs. Bellmont`s daughter, Frodo`s assertiveness grew andshe constantly asked Mrs. Bellmont`s a chain of questions which shenever asked before. It is because, she was taking advantage of thedepression of Mrs. Belmont following the estranged news of herdaughter`s sickness, then followed with her death. Frado`sassertiveness is a reflection that she feels good to see hertormentor feel pain just like her.

Afterhaving been advised by Mr. Belmont to defend herself in case someonemay try to without any unjustifiable mistakes. On the day that Fradohad gone out to look for firewood, Mrs. Belmont went to search forher thinking that she had taken a longer time in the fields. As shewas about to strike her as usual, Frado shouted at her to stop andthreaten never to work again for her if she when to beat her. Fromthis sense of assertiveness, we can see how courageous Frodo hadgrown to be, to an extent that she had the guts to demand herfreedom.

AfterFrado refused to be punished, Mrs. Belmont was forced to changecertain things in the way that she used to handle her. Starting fromthat day at the woodpile, Frodo had become independent now and it wasupon her to ensure that she does the right thing, she also stood todefend herself against any form of injustice whenever his right wasbeing stepped on. This was how assertive Frodo had become for thesake of defending her body from being beaten (Tate 98).

Thelong overshadowed fear in Frado had been long buried, she wasplanning to confront Mrs. Belmond and tell her that she wanted tolive to another place but she decided to wait till she was eighteenyears old. When the time for Frado to live Belmont`s household came,her independence, and assertiveness were reflected in the way sherejected Mrs. Belmont`s offer to stay with her further. She boldlytold her that &quotshe wanted to seek the comfort of other places.

Afterliving the Bellmont`s homestead, Frado moves to different households,this is, therefore, a reflection of her independence and freedom fromslavery (Boyle 50). By being an independent woman she was able tolook for different job opportunities from which she saved some of herearnings to buy her things. During this time of being an independentwoman, Frodo was attached to emotionally to another black slave andfrom there she was able to fall in love for the first time. They gotmarried and stayed with his husband until the time he left to seekfor more resources that could help him sustain his family. Frodo gotpregnant and gave birth and by this, she was able to feel theadvantages of having freedom.

Frodocannot be seen as a hero for surviving through all these struggleswhile she was a slave, but instead, we can view her as a strong womanwho is determined to live a free and independent life. This isbecause it is her determination to gain her freedom that kept herpersevering till the end (Shaw 118).

Insummation, the plight of Frado as a slave is an indication of thekind of treatment that most of the black American slaves weresubjected to by their masters. As a slave, one was denied of freedomsbut instead, they were expected to work for their masters and in mostcases they got punished for making simple mistakes. In some cases,some slaves revolted against their masters to get back theirfreedoms. As we learn from this story of Frado, she is insulted,beaten and wiped by her master for unreasonable offenses, but inspite of such treatments, she has to persevere because she is not afree woman. She plans to free herself from the bondage of slavery butshe isn’t sure on which way get back her freedom. She threatens hermaster from torturing her by being assertive. When Frado reachedeighteen years old she finally granted her freedom person. As a freeperson she get married and give birth and carry out a normal lifejust like other free men.


Newman,Simon P. &quot&quot Ingreat slavery and bondage&quot:white labor and the development of plantation slavery in BritishAmerica.&quot (2015): 59-82.

Araújo,Eliza de Souza Silva, and Liane Schneider. &quotOurNig, by Harriet E. Wilson: Frado and the characterization ofoppression.&quotCaderno Espaço Feminino 29.1 (2016).

Boyle,Elizabeth. &quot‘Twistingherself into all shapes’: blackface minstrelsy and comicperformance in Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig.&quotEuropean journal of American studies 9.1 (2014).

Shaw,Stephanie J. &quotToLive an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum BlackMiddle Class by Erica L. Ball (review).&quot TheJournal of the Civil War Era 4.1 (2014): 118-121.

deLeon, Cedric. &quotBlackfrom White: How the Rights of White and Black Workers Became “Labor”and “Civil”Rights after the US Civil War.&quot Labor Studies Journal (2016):0160449X16676417.

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PerformanceAnalysis Pansori

Pansoriwas referred to as chang, taryeong, sori, or jabga until the 19thcentury. Jeong Nosik a historian and a music connoisseur after 1940designated this art form in his book as joseonchanggeuksa whichtranslated to a history of Singing-drama of Joseon. Pansori isderived from two words from the Korean language which are pari andsori. The former refers to where things happen or venues ofperformance. Another meaning of the word pan is the expertisedemonstration of a performer in the presence of a large audience. Thefinal definition of this term is the exciting process. The word sori,on the other hand, mean song. The word sori are also derived from theword maksori, which means voice or vocal sound (Kim and Wolfgang 3).Thus, the term pansori is inferred as those songs, which are sung invenues where many people are gathering for the purpose of enjoyment.Pansori is a vocal genre and a form of performing art. All themeanings of pansori show that it is a kind of music art. This paperwill discuss a performance analysis of elements of pansoriperformance and folk song in a five-minute video clip.

Stageset up

Thestage that is used by the performer of the different songs that arebeing performed is quite significant in that around twenty people canplay on that stage very comfortably. Three to four people areperforming on the stage including the drummer. Initially, there areonly two performers a lady who is narrating a story in rhythm and adrummer who is rhythmically beating the drum. The stage is setsomewhere lower, and the audience is in a place that is elevatedsurrounding the performer. The stage that the performers are on iswell lit as people can see them well and be able to see their facialexpressions.


Theaudience in this performance are very silent and keen it looks likethey are anticipating the climax of the performance. The audienceseems very calm, and it sounds like the performance is soothing them.The audience claps their hands on their thighs to the performancegoing with the rhythm. The second performance the audience joins inbecause it is a folk song. They accompany singing and clapping oftheir hands in rhythm with the song that is being performed (Kim andWolfgang 5). However, the audience is seated while the performance isgoing on. The audience is comprised of both men and women who arepassionate about what is being performed since they are all clapping.Not even one of them is doing their things they are all participatingin the folk song that the three performers are presenting. Theaudience of this performance is art lovers and like art songs thatare why they are seated attentively listening to the firstperformance because they know this kind of play should not beinterrupted (Walmsley341).They join in the second performance which is the folk song becausethese type of songs are supposed to sing as a group since it is moreentertaining that way.


Thereare special effects in the performance as in the background of theperformer there is a house and snow is falling. The meaning that canbe derived from the history is that the first performance was donemostly in the cold season so as to entertain people.


Theartist`s facial expression is quite blank, and one cannot read theemotions that she is trying to portray or what she feels through thisperformance. However, there are instances the performer is seen asauthoritative giving directions as to what she is doing. She useshand gestures to try and show the audience what she means as wordscannot only express what she means. She avoids eye contact with thepublic probably because she will become nervous and she will forgether whole performance. In a bid to prevent this, she stares theglaring head or at times stares to the ceiling (Frank12).There are some instances the performer looks down and have eyecontact with the drummer. The reason why she is comfortable havingeye contact with the drummer is that she is comfortable with him andthey know each other personally so she would not be nervous becausehe is looking at her.

MusicInstrument used

Themusical instrument that is utilized in this performance is a drumsince in the Korean culture it is very common. Most performances inthis culture use the drum since the rhythm, and the beat that thedrum produces goes well with most of the performances. Anotherinstrument that is commonly used in Korean culture to accompany musicis the Gayageum which is a Korean zither-like string instrument. Eventhough it was not employed in this performance, it can be utilizedtogether with a drum as an accompaniment to performance. The gayageumcan be used as an alternative to a drum to accompany the performerwhile performing a song or dance.


Theattire that is worn by the performers is traditional regalia that waswon by Korean artists during performances of this type of art form. The attire has five different colors with the lower part beingentirely red and the top part being olive green. She also has awhite scarf that goes all the way to the bottom nearly touching theground (Hong22).The sleeves on the olive green top have a golden color.

Thefirst performance was not as lively because various features showedit was not. An obvious one was people did not scream during theexecution as a show of being overwhelmed by the performance. Itlooked like the crowd was not moved by the performance when it wasgoing on but after the first performer finished presenting the crowdapplauded showing the appreciation of the art form.

Thesecond performance included two other women singing the folk songthat people in the crowd joined in. The performance was very colorfulas stunning women performed it. The performance was very entertainingas the three women who were performing the folk dance engaged theaudience in the play by urging them to clap (Young-hee “Arirang”).The audience joined in the folk dance by singing the chorus togetherwith the performers while clapping to the rhythm of the song. In thissecond performance, the artists engage in a little bit of dancemoving to the beat that is made by the clapping of the audience andthe drum.


Frank,Rüdiger. &quotThe Arirang Mass Games of North Korea.&quot (2013).

Hong,Ki-Hwan. &quotThe Vocalization for Korean Traditional Song&quotPansori.&quot&quot TheJournal of the Korean Society of Logopedics and Phoniatrics22. 2011.

Kim,Hyunju, and Wolfgang Mastnak. &quotCreative Pansori: A New KoreanApproach in Music Therapy.&quot Voices:A World Forum for Music Therapy.Vol. 15. No. 3. 2016.

WalmsleyBen. &quotWhy people go to the theater: a qualitative study ofaudience motivation.&quot Journalof Customer Behaviour10.4 (2011): 335-351.

Young-hee,Shin. “Arirang Special M30 Pansori, Chunyangga” 11 September2014,