The Last Member of the Boela Tribe

Published: 2021-09-10 13:05:09
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The Last Member of the Boela Tribe
When you were born plays a huge role on who you become. For instance for a child growing up in slavery he or she is going to be greatly affected by slavery and is not going to have the same freedoms as someone growing up now. In the story The Last Member of the Boela Tribe by Cathy Day goes through the family history of the Bowles family. Starting with Bascomb and ending with Chicky; this family is amazing in the fact that is mere happenstance that everything happens to them; also they are all born in different parts of history. Bascomb is a man that wants a better life, Gordon wants to be normal, Verna wants to fit in and Chicky wants to find his place in the world; all these characters have different wants out of life because of when they were born and their family. The story starts with Bascomb an African American man whose working as a "honey bucket boy" which is someone who cleans up after white people after they have used the restroom. Bascomb was born in the 1850's and during that time African-Americans were not treated as people. The white men and women treated them as pieces of property rather than people. Throughout this time those men and women fought for their own independence and freedoms. However none of these freedoms happened until the late 1800's. The black men and women of this time never got the opportunities to earn money or have property of their own. So when
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Bascomb was given the "[opportunity] to scare white folks" and earn ten dollars a week you didn't have to tell him twice to take it (49). Hollenbach a circus owner offered Bascomb a job where he had to shave his head and simply just act crazy. Bascomb saw this job as him moving up in life; there weren't many jobs that African Americans could get during that time so this job was great for Bascomb. If a black man or woman did get a chance to work for pay at a white man's factory, he/she would never get the same pay as a white man, even if they were working for the same company and doing the same job. The black men and women of the late 1800's had to deal with many different things going on. They had to deal with the white men and women treating them like dirt, the wars being fought for their freedom, the names they were called, and the beatings they were put through. This job was everything Bascomb could ask for and more. The circus would offer him food, a place to live, he would get to travel and eventually he even met his wife who he would later have a son with. This circus life was great for him, however it is no place for a kid to grow up in. Gordon, Bascomb's son, is a boy that wants to have a normal life. Born in the circus meant that he had to work in the circus. He too had to shave his head and act crazy with his parents; he too was part of the boela tribe. However Gordon always impatiently waited for winter to come "[so he could spend] each winter in a kind of normalcy..."(53). During the winter the circus would stay in one place and him and his family didn't have to work. The winter was Gordon's favorite time of the year he
longer had to work. His whole life he had to work because he was born in a circus,
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but during him and his family would be normal they would actually let

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