Draper, Sharon. Copper Sun.

Author:Hinton, Kaa Vonia
Position:Brief Article - Young Adult Review - Book Review

DRAPER, Sharon. Copper sun. Simon & Schuster. 308p. c2006. 0-689-82181-6. $16.95. S

In the classic The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois, speaking of the slaves' sorrow songs, writes, "Through all of the Sorrow Songs there breathes a hope--a faith in the ultimate justice of things." This premise is suggested in Copper Sun, the story of 15-year-old Amira's enslavement and journey to freedom. Purchased as a gift for Clay Derby, Amira's primary purpose is to satisfy him sexually by night and physically as a laborer by day. An excerpt from Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen's poem, "Heritage," opens the novel, bringing to mind one of his earliest books of poetry, Copper Sun, while illuminating the book's theme: what is Africa to me? Quite graphic at times and perhaps a difficult read for some (as is Gary Paulsen's Night-john), the atrocities emphasized (e.g., rape, murder, torture) are necessary to convey key questions posed in the novel: How do we understand the resilience of American slaves? How was the treatment of slaves, white women, and poor whites similar,...

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