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Chica Da Silva A Brazilian Slave English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1182 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Racism could be regarded to as one of the most burning social issues and it is not actually surprising that this question is often raised within the pages of fictional and non-fictional literature. Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century by Júnia Ferreira Furtado could be referred to as the masterpiece of African Colonial Literature, perfectly revealing the racism issue within the pages of the book, describing not only the story of a single woman: “It provides a historical perspective on a woman’s agency, the cultural universe she inhabited, and the myths that were created around her in subsequent centuries, as Chica de Silva came to symbolize both an example of racial democracy and the stereotype of licentiousness and sensuality always attributed to the black or mulatta female in the Brazilian popular imagination” [1] In particular this book perfectly depicts such a theme and sociological phenomenon as Racial Identity, which is undoubtedly one of the major and most contradictory themes in the novel, sharpening the social intercommunication of the protagonist with the society and community (as black as well as white). The core idea of this essay to examine in details and from different perspectives the Racial Identity theme within the pages of Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century by Júnia Ferreira Furtado, the methods of its realization

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The story of African mulatto woman, formerly a slave, tells the reader about joys and sorrows of the black community, its history and formation in Barzil during the 18th and her way to success and recognition. This book describes not only the story of the main heroine, whose destiny had a close connection, with the oppression and violence of the white majority, but provides deep historical examination, as Chica da Silva was a hero of her time and still remains legendary personality now: the ¬gure of Chica da Silva always awoke and attracted curiosity. Her image, popularized ¬rst in history books and later in novels, cinema, and television, has stood

the test of time” [2] . The author describes dramatically the events of sexual violence African women faced in Colonial America as Chica da Silva was a daughter of a slave and “”, which impacted the life and development of the main heroine. It goes without saying that these actions had close connection to the racial identity not only of Chica da Silva, but of the whole of Colonial African nation in Brazil. The author describes contradictory and oppressive history of the salves stressing on the theme of interracial relations between the Black Minority and the White Majority. With the help of main heroine story the author, with the help of direct allusion draws the story of Brazilian females in the 18th century, interracial relations and Brazilian Nobility: “This book aims to get to know her, not as a curiosity nor as an exception, but to use her as a medium through which to shed new light on the women of her period and therefore bring them into history” [3] 

It would be important to note that the author stresses on the racial health – a sense of black people as complete, complex, undiminished human beings. And the story of Chica da Silva is undoubtedly the story of such success, she is a perfect self maid, but the same time social pariah, who was not accepted in during her life as the member of African Colonial community in Brazil she had been grown up. This contrast, which reveals main heroine difference from the Afro-American society, played a crucial role for realization of the Racial Identity theme. After Becoming successful and rich woman da Silva could not find herself within this community, but she had started her long journey for the racial identity many years ago, when she escaped from the fortune of a slave. She was born a woman and a slave and it is a well known fact that becoming powerful and influential person in 18th century Brazil was almost impossible and the author supposed that even winning high social position did not make her equal, as she was not accepted by the new community she lived in.

Using historical notions and investigation the author uses contrasted the realities and myths about da Silva. As an object of investigation and personality she was also opposed to the white society, which was supposed to absorb her and kill her black identity. But Chica da Silva did not feel herself comfortable in the white society, which is purely egoistic, selfish and self concentrated. She is the woman, who seeks for the personal identity, as she failed to find his place in the community he always tried to identify with the self. The white majority turned out to be not ideal, but even the one her philosophical nature and essence could not accept.

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It would be important to make a stress that the author masterfully combined myths and real life of the main hero to keep the investigation historical and the same time to tell the real story of racism and racial identity on example of this outstanding person. The historically based research, with peer review of historical documents perfectly revealed the struggle for Racial Identity of the whole Black community in Brazil, leaded by Chico da Silva, who was actually pariah in the both communities. The author masterfully used supporting evidence to reveal the historic truth about this period in Brazil, attracting the reader’s attention by the constant antithesis of historical facts, ideas, suggestions, myths and realities. Júnia Ferreira Furtado let the readers feel the difference between present day realities and 18th century, giving a chance to experience the life of outstanding person, trying to reveal how she perceived both communities and how her relations with them developed. Furtado also opposes the main hero to the different communities in order to reveal the reader the nature of being a pariah, without self identity. Actually the main heroine was not rejected by the Colinial community, but she sharply felt the difference was unable to find the suitable place among them. But the same time she disregarded an ability to become a member of the white society.


In the end it would be essential to make a stress on the fact that Racial Identity is among the most powerful themes realized within the pages of Chica da Silva: A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth Century The social environment the main heroin was placed within, as well as the historical period, which was really significant for the Afro-Brazilian society assisted realization of the Racial Identity theme within the novel.


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