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ERIC Number: EJ1092099
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Mar
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
Surviving the "School of Slavery": Acculturation in Sharon Draper's "Copper Sun" and Joyce Hansen's "The Captive"
Chandler, Karen Michele
Children's Literature in Education, v47 n1 p77-92 Mar 2016
Although children's literature has long alluded to cultural connections between Africans and African Americans, very few texts establish clear lines of influence between particular African ethnic groups and African American characters and communities. Joyce Hansen's "The Captive" (1994) and Sharon Draper's "Copper Sun" (2006) stand out in portraying protagonists Kofi's and Amari's reliance on their past upbringing as Ashanti and Ewe, respectively. As Kofi and Amari endure the traumas of the Middle Passage and slavery in eighteenth-century America, they adapt by relying on their past socialization in traditional West African societies. The two novels challenge the idea of cultural erasure promoted in Elizabeth Yates' "Amos Fortune, Free Man" (1950), which is still a fixture on multicultural reading lists for middle school students. "The Captive" and "Copper Sun" do provide sharply contrasting visions of their protagonist's relationships to American society. "Copper Sun" indicates that a black girl's concerns, including her need for subsistence and protection, and her desire for creative expression and personal autonomy, can complement the economic and military interests of the state. By contrast, "The Captive" insists on the necessity for its emancipated protagonist to maintain an adversarial role within a stratified, white-dominated U.S. culture. The novels thus highlight the very different messages about social identity and participation that recent multicultural children's literature can convey.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A