Thu 30 Nov 2006
Juan Francisco Manzano’s autobiographical narrative is a coming of age story with twists and turns that occur throughout the text. Towards the end of his autobiography, the reader is presented straight-out with the brutality, dehumanization, and barbaric actions done by the slave owners. In a way there is a role reversal, not previously seen in other texts. The slave owners are more of the cannibals that are previously seen in Columbus’ text. The way they treat Manzano and his mother towards the end of the text, the reader realizes the brutality and animosity issued on all slaves. “[H]e raised his hand and struck my mother with his whip. I felt this blow to my heart” (14). Through this quote, the reader can point out the tone of Manzano. Its heartfelt, the sadness and pain that he endures throughout the latter portion of Manzano’s autobiography is an ongoing cycle in his later teen years. In other instances Manzano is locked in a cell, “I was locked up for twenty-four hours in a coal cellar without floorboards and nothing to cover myself” (7). Manzano is the innocent affected one in his life; the slave owners, on the other hand, are presented in a negative light, by all standards. Even Doña Beatriz de Justiz could also be compared to the slave owners for she is basically the “caregiver” and adopted mother of all slaves that she owns. There is this ironic sense that is presented in Manzano’s writing that allows the reader to question the reasons behind these brutish acts of hate and whether the acts of beating the slaves was caused by the caste system or caused by racial discrimination.