Forming Empathy Through The First Chapter

While I respect the opinions shared in the well-written analysis by rpaul2, I find myself disagreeing with almost everything that rpaul2 said.

I agree that Nat Turner is a complex book; however, I do not think that it is confusing to the point that it warrants going back multiple times to figure out certain scenes. Kyle Baker does a decent job of keeping a quick pace throughout the course of the entire graphic novel. I feel that slowing down and going back to reread scenes only takes away from the fast paced mentality of the book. The first few scenes may be open to interpretation, but Baker still makes sure enough is drawn that you are not confused by what is going on. It is clear that the character at the beginning is a woman and not Nat Turner. It is also clear that the first few scenes take place in Africa before slavery and on a boat, not on an American plantation.

The thing rpaul2 said that I disagree with the most is that the first chapter is “relatively unnecessary.” The first chapter of Nat Turner could possibly be the most important chapter of the graphic novel. The first chapter displays the history of the slaves to the reader, demonstrating the harsh and cruel circumstances they were put through on the ships and on the plantations. It was argued that Chapter 3 was where the book began to pick up pace and become truly good. The 3rd chapter is riveting because it is full of action and violence. It has the same effect as watching a Michael Bay film: it doesn’t matter what is taking place… the action, explosions, and violence will hold your attention and cause you to not be able to look away. Even though Chapter 1 does not have the same effect on the reader as Chapter 3, it is extremely important because it allows the reader to empathize with the character of Nat Turner. By showing the reader all of the horrible things the slaves were put through, it allows the reader to understand why Turner is committing the horrible murders. Without the first chapter, readers of Nat Turner would view the protagonist as a monster obsessed with the genocide of white plantation farmers instead of as a leader of a revolution; which is a pretty important role for a chapter that is considered “relatively unnecessary.”

One thought on “Forming Empathy Through The First Chapter”

  1. I agree that this isn’t a book that one should go back and re-read a passage to make sure they got it right the first time. But rather a book that should be read all at once without going back every time you read it. A re-read in its entirety to better grasp what may have been initially confusing.

Comments are closed.