Weekly Roundup 2/18/11

There were several interesting points that were brought up during the discussions of Nat Turner.

First, there was the use of outside imagery.  Someone pointed out that one of the images from before the slave revolt was actually a metal etching from the Granger Collection of Art.  It was interesting to see that Kyle Baker had chosen to use this image as the basis for his interpretation of the image of Nat Turner.  We also noticed that there were several images that were taken from actual photographs, like the pictures of houses at the tops of the pages or some of the real background images with pictures drawn over the top of them.  This may have added a sense of reality to a semi-accurate account of an actual slave revolt.

Second, there were issues of heroism throughout the course of the novel.  We discussed that Kyle Baker seemed to justify Nat Turners actions by mirroring action from the white community.  For example, a black baby was killed on the voyage to America, and one was killed during the slave revolt.  These types of actions occurred several times and were perpetrated by both whites and blacks throughout the course of the novel.  It seemed to be more of an eye-for-an-eye story rather than glorifying Nat Turner’s actions.  This is seen again at the end of the novel where Nat is lynched.  From the non-white perspective, he is shown with beams of heavenly light shining down upon him.  But from the whites’ perspective, he is seen as somewhat grotesquely hanging from the tree with no light.

Third, we had the issue of knowledge as power, or as a weapon.  As someone pointed out during their presentation, images of books and weapons were both illuminated throughout the book.  Also, as Nat Turner learns to read, he gets the idea that he is some sort of Messiah for the slaves and that he will free his people through bloodshed.  Ultimately, this leads to the slave rebellion and knowledge leads to violence.

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