Roles of the Slave: Antagonisms between House Slaves and Field Slaves
(see film clip)
No matter what time or area in
the institution of slavery, the position of the house
slave is always a difficult one. On one hand, the house slave is in a privileged position,
free from the barbaric schedules and disciplines the field slaves are subjected to. At the
same time the house slave serves as living proof for slave owners that the practice of
slavery need not lay on their consciences. Household slaves were grateful to be in that
position and rarely (if ever) complained, since doing so could jeopardize their situation.
In The Last Supper the difference of treatment of Emundo, the Count’s house slave,
and the rest of the blacks is noteworthy, particularly when Emundo is dismissed from
the table at the supper (1:03:55). The goal of this essay is to show that the film, while
judging Emundo’s loyalty as counterproductive to the cause of the other slaves,
recognizes that the house slave’s position is impossible....
SLAVERY IN THE BLACK MAN'S WORLD
(see film clip)
“The blacks are crying . . .
If you’re not a black slave, you don’t know why.” This
statement is the opening line spoken by a slave while narrating a story at the table of the
Last Supper (0:41:45). Birico is the slave who recounts the story of an event that
occurred in his homeland, a story about a son who tricks his father into being sold as a
slave. The initial intentions were for the father to sell his son into slavery in order to
receive food for the family, yet the son is too smart for his father and manages to speak
first and sell his father. By doing so he gets food for the family so they can eat for two
days. When the son tells his family where their father is and that “he’s the food,” they
are extremely agitated and demand that he be punished by also being sold into slavery...