“Midwives” and “Arrowhead” present the exploitation enslaved women endured. As Jessica Marie Johnson argues slavery did not dehumanize the enslaved. “As human, enslaved Africans could be manipulated: their desires could make them pliable. They could be terrorized.” (83) The stories of Ndizi and Tshanwe show how, as Johnson illustrates, slave traders “required the humanity of their slaves so that the atrocities they visited upon them would matter.” But just like Johnson, Arroyo Pizarro uses her narratives to portrait acts of rebellion and extreme survival.
In the comment section down below write a response (225-words minimum) to ONE of these prompts (due on 3/2 before class):
Johnson argues that “faced with impossible choices, African women, children, and men sometimes found other more devastating ways to be accountable to and for each other… The kinship that joined the enslaved together in the act of self-destruction, reveals practices that responded to and even defied the loss and dispossession of la traversée.” (“La Traversée” 94-5)
How Arroyo Pizarro shows this “self-destructive” kinship and accountability in “Midwives”?
Analyze how Arroyo Pizarro presents sexual labor in “Arrowhead.”
Discuss the different connotations, meanings, and transformations of the arrowhead in the same-named story.
Write a poem based on the perspective of ONE of the central characters of Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro’s stories: Wanwe, Ndizi, or Tshanwe. Emphasize in the poem the way the character you choose reflects on slavery and how they keep a sense of dignity while facing oppression.