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Brooke Sharp
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Martha Hill
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Jose Escobar
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Brenda Gannon
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Darren Farr
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Andrew Hubbs
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Joel Boykin
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Robert Carter
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Marguerite Castillo
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Ken Ericksen
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Thomas Alday
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British Literature Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe Public High School
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Jason Westley
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Aphra Behn A dramatist of the English Restoration, the first English professional female literary writer.Her writing contributed to the amatory fiction genre of British literature. She is sometimes referred to as part of “The fair triumvirate of wit.” According to biographer Janet Todd, Behn did not oppose slavery per se. She accepted the idea that powerful groups would enslave the powerless. Orooncko or The Royal Slave (1688)
SUMMARY:The Coromantin grandson of an African king, Prince Oroonoko, falls in love with Imoinda, the daughter of that king’s top general. “Coromantee people” were Akan slaves brought from present-day Ghana, a polyglot band known for their rebellious nature. The king, too, falls in love with Imoinda. He gives Imoinda the sacred veil, thus commanding her to become one of his wives, even though she was already married to Oroonoko. After unwillingly spending time in the king’s harem (the Otan), Imoinda and Oroonoko plan a tryst with the help of the sympathetic Onahal and Aboan. They are eventually discovered, and because she has lost her virginity, Imoinda is sold as a slave. The king’s guilt, however, leads him to falsely inform Oroonoko that she has been executed, since death was thought to be better than slavery. Later, after winning another tribal war, Oroonoko is betrayed and captured by an English captain, who planned to sell him and his men as slaves. Both Imoinda and Oroonoko were carried to Surinam, at that time an English colony based on sugarcane plantation in the West Indies. The two lovers are reunited there, under the new Christian names of Caesar and Clemene, even though Imoinda’s beauty has attracted the unwanted desires of other slaves and of the Cornish gentleman, Trefry. Upon Imoinda’s pregnancy, Oroonoko petitions for their return to the homeland. But after being continuously ignored, he organises a slave revolt. The slaves are hunted down by the military forces and compelled to surrender on deputy governor Byam’s promise of amnesty. Yet, when the slaves surrender, Oroonoko and the others are punished and whipped. To avenge his honour, and to express his natural worth, Oroonoko decides to kill Byam. But to protect Imoinda from violation and subjugation after his death, he decides to kill her. The two lovers discuss the plan, and with a smile on her face, Imoinda willingly dies by his hand. A few days later, Oroonoko is found mourning by her decapitated body and is kept from killing himself, only to be publicly executed. During his death by dismemberment, Oroonoko calmly smokes a pipe and stoically withstands all the pain without crying out. The novel is written in a mixture of first and third person, as the narrator relates actions in Africa and portrays herself as a witness of the actions that take place in Surinam. At the conclusion of the love story, the narrator leaves Surinam for London. TYPE: Short novel
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