Analysis: Abina And The Important Men

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Getz and Clark’s graphic novel Abina and the Important Men, illustrates a historical story that is based off of a woman named Abina Mansah who was wrongfully enslaved and testifies for her freedom. It takes place in 1876, in West Africa where she is was enslaved and escapes to the Cape Coast a British controlled region apart of the Gold Coast; which is known for being rich in resources other than gold itself. When she escapes, she becomes a servant for James Davis, a young interpreter for the colonial courts (Abina: 10). Although she was poor she had food, a place to live and even friends but that reality came to an abrupt halt when she spotted Quamina Eddoo, her old master. Slavery is still a hot subject, where cultural traditions and practices…show more content…
Even when she was in Quamina’s village, despite the fact Abina took orders from his sister, she was not actually the one in power, her brother was. The gender dynamics in the story is predominantly placed in a patriarchal society, where the men are blatantly dominant and are in control. (Abina: 147). However, James Davis was understanding of Abina’s plight and provided her an actual job and helped her with arranging a trial and fight for her freedom. (Abina: 12) That’s literally the only instance of where a man isn’t completely overpowering a woman. Colonialism attributed to cultural violence, where Western and European ideals were considered superior and saw anything else as inferior. (Abina: 145) It wasn’t ideal to establish hierarchies, segregation between races, genders, cultures and ideas instead it was forced. Colonialism is symbolic to the gender dynamics of the story, where one has complete control and dominance over those considered inferior, this would degrade a person below a slave. “Reducing them to simply victims impoverishes their histories and memories” (Abina: 146). Culturally, there are two ways that Abina’s story is gendered. First, we get a glimpse of the British culture through Melton, highly paternalistic where it was natural that the empire was played out as the parent and the colonies were children that needed to be protected. Secondly, when the alliance that the African men partake with Euro-Western culture it cost the women a lot of their institutions and beliefs that protected them; the feminization of slavery made women preferable to enslave. They were seen less protected by the new implemented colonial rules rather than their previous social

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