Copper Sun Chapters 14-16 Summary & Analysis
Part Two: Polly
Chapter 14 Summary: The Slave Sale
The point of view of this section of the book shifts to that of Polly, an indentured girl who must work for Mr. Percival Derby for fourteen years to “pay off the debts of her parents” (76). It is immediately revealed that “Polly really didn’t like negroes…they talked funny, they smelled bad, and they were ugly…Besides, Negroes made it difficult for regular folks like herself to get work. Who could compete with somebody who worked for free?” (76). While watching the slave auction, she sneers at the behaviour of the black women for “living here in the colonies had to be better than living like a savage in the jungle” (76). Polly believes that “they ought to be grateful”(76).
A “repulsive” large man approaches Amari and offers ten pounds for her. There is a slight bidding war for Amari, and the other man wants her for his son as a present for his sixteenth birthday. Amari is sold to Mr. Percival Derby for 60 pounds. The auctioneer offers her “mother” (meaning Afi), but Mr. Derby doesn’t want her, his reasons being that “Family ties confuse the poor creatures. They’ll forget each other as soon as the sun sets” (78). Polly hopes this new girl will be sent to the fields “where she belongs” (78). Polly remembers when she was a child playing with Negro children, her father taught her “don’t get your hands dirty by dealing’ with darkies” (78).
Chapter 15 Summary: Polly and Clay
Mr. Derby is preparing to return to Derbyshire farms with his new acquisitions. He has another black man as a slave who is carrying packages for them, and Derby whips him in order to get him to move faster. The slave doesn’t complain, and Polly wonders if the black men “feel pain the way others” do (81).
Polly comments to Clay Derby (Percival’s son) on how well dressed the Negro man is and asks why he beats him (if he’s dressed so well). He explains that “They expect to be disciplined…It shows them that enough to make sure…