Trauma of Slavery: A Critical Study of the Roots by Alex Haley

Faiza Javed Dar


Roots by Alex Haley is a critical analysis of the traumas of slavery experienced by the Africans. As an Afro-American writer, he gives voice to the issues like racism, subjugation, identity crises of the Blacks, but most of all the institution of slavery. Slavery has been an important phenomenon throughout history. Africa has been intimately connected with this history through Americans. Slavery in America began when the African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops like tobacco and cotton. After the research of twelve years, Haley describes the experiences of Kunta Kinte before and after his enslavement, who is the great-great-grandfather of the writer. Roots is not just a saga of one Afro-American family, it is the symbolic saga of a people. The dehumanization process of slavery assaults the mind, body, and soul of African slaves. The purpose of this paper is to highlight and investigate the slow momentum of social reform for Blacks in the U.S.A. This will be qualitative research and critical race analysis will be applied as a tool to analyze the text under discussion. By using the theory of Derrick Bell the researcher will try to explore racism and black identity in this work.

Keywords: NAACP, Signs, Psycho-Existential displacement, Drapatomania, Cultural trauma

DOI: 10.7176/JLLL/57-01

Publication date:June 30th 2019


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