Ambition by Beryl Weston and Contending Forces Term Paper

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Ambition by Beryl Weston and "Contending Forces" by Hopkins depicts the lives of Black Americans in the dominant white American society prior and after the legal abolishment of black slavery. Both novels discuss these social issues while discussing and narrating in closer detail the everyday lives of black Americans as they go through their lives in a new established society. In addition, both novels also touch on the romantic pursuits of the characters in the story. These love stories also illustrate how the society and the people in it determine the fate and course of romantic love for the main characters. However, the novels start in a different pace: 'Contending Forces" starts with the abolishment of black slavery, then proceeds with life in a society that has its black Americans as the equals of white Americans, not as slaves of them. Meanwhile, "Ambition" by Weston starts initially with the already abolished black slavery, and we are introduced to a new American society, wherein black Americans are now educated and lived as equals with the white Americans. Despite these differences in the narrative structure, both novels are great eye- openers that illustrate what American society is like after the abolishment of black slavery and what society is like with black Americans as part of the whole operation of running a functional society.

In "Contending Forces," Hopkins presents us with two facets of a society after the abolishment of black slavery. The novel starts with the people, especially the white American society, talk about the nearing end of legal black Slavery in their states. The first facet is the white American society, and the worries that they have over what will happen next after the abolishment of slavery.
This is a very powerful issue to talk about, since this reflects the innermost fears of most white Americans during that time: they fear retaliation and defeat from the black Americans who were once their slaves. Hopkins effectively illustrates these feelings of the white American society thru the following lines: "... The agitation of the inhabitants of Great Britain over the increasing horrors of the slave trade carried on in the West Indian possessions of the Empire was about reaching a climax. Every day the terrible things done to slaves were becoming public talk, until the best English humanitarians... were led to declare the principle: "The air of England is too pure for any slave to breathe" (Hopkins p. 18). These lines voices out the worry that white Americans have over the surge and increase of black American slaves that come in their nation. They fear that with the nearing abolishment of slavery, and of the increasing population of the black Americans, the white American society may be defeated and be outnumbered, thus, they fear that a reversal of roles in the society might happen. This is one of the "power plays" of contending forces that Hopkins tries to extend through her novel: the conflict between the black and white American society, and the fear of a reversal of functions and roles of each in the society as one group outnumbers and becomes more strengthened (black Americans) than the other (white Americans). The second facet of Hopkins' novel talks about conflict among the black Americans….....

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