Copper Sun Themes

Sharon Draper

Copper Sun

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Copper Sun Themes

The Nature of Evil

The word “evil” is not tossed around a lot in this book, but when it is, it is paralleled with any actions that demonstrate a complete disregard for humanity. Draper presents “evil” in the violent capture of the innocent Africans, the animalistic treatment of them on the ship of death, and the deliberate attitudes of superiority and cruelty displayed by the Derbys. All of these scenarios reveal that evil is the complete lack of acceptance that another person is a human being and, therefore, a total absence of empathy. The evil treatment of the African slaves in the novel is contrasted with small, simple gestures of kindness and generosity and with the freedom successfully attained by Amari at the end of the book. It can be argued that, ultimately, the empathetic side of humanity conquers its darkness.

Engaging With Other Perspectives and the Subsequent Growth in Empathy

In order for real empathy to be present, an understanding of another’s experience and perspective is necessary. This is most noticeable in the growing friendship between Polly and Amari. Draper focuses most of her attention on Polly’s growth because she is the one that is challenged the most. Her prejudice towards blacks is more severe and entrenched because she has had more experience with the stereotypes. Amari is arguably more naive because she simply hasn’t had any experience with a different race or country. Throughout the novel, Amari shares her experiences of Africa with Polly, and Polly notices the awful mistreatment of Amari by the Derbys. The fact that Polly and Amari are both girls of the same age makes it easier for Polly to put herself inAmari’s shoes and, therefore, to understand what it’s like to be her. This is where the seed of care and concern is planted, the seedfrom which a compassionate relationship grows.

Hope as Necessary for Survival

The positive, hopeful attitude that Amari tries to uphold at the beginning of the novel could be seen as naïve.At that point in the narrative, she has no capacity to understand how bad things can get, thus, she has no other…

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