Essay title: The Slave Dancer
The books main character is a thirteen year old boy named Jessie Boiler. Jessie is described as a little heavier then the majority of boys his age. He has dark hair and also a sailor aboard The Moonlight often jokes with Jessie about how his feet are too big for the rest of his body.
Jessie lives with his mother and sister Betty. They barely are able to survive with the little money Jessie’s mom makes designing dresses for the wealthy women. To help his family out financially, Jessie plays his fife for the sailors down by the docks. What little money he makes he gives to his mother and Betty. Jessie is a very strong and stubborn boy.Once when called to play his fife for the first mate of The Moonlight Jessie refused.
Tired of playing his fife for the men who constantly force him to, Jessie puts his foot down and blatently says no. After being ordered to several times Jessie still doesn’t play. Jessie’s whole journey beings when he is kidnapped down by some of the sailors.
He was on his way home from getting candles from his aunts’ house when two sailors ambush him. He hears the kidnappers discussing his fife as he struggles to breathe. Jessie is then taken to a raft by the two men and they cast off and set adrift down river. When they finally arrive at their destination, Jessie realizes they are at a ridiculously large ship. He is then hauled onto the deck of the ship where he learns the name of his captors, Claudius Sharkey and Clay Purvis. He meets two other men named Ned Crime and Benjamin Stout.
While talking to Purvis, Jessie learns the horrible truth that he is on a slave ship. He then learns it is his job to play his fife while the slaves dance and keep their bodies fit and profitable. After the slaves board the ship Jessie begins to see the cruelty in all the sailors. He sees them force the slaves to live in very rough conditions and they are shown no mercy and watches the sailors throw sick, yet alive slaves over the side of the ship into the water. Surrounded by horror, Jessie is forced to keep the slaves dancing.
Two men play a big role on Jesse through out his journey. The first is Benjamin Stout. Stout is very deceiving and in the beginning of the book Stout makes it seem he understands of how Jessie feels. He also shows a little compassion for him. As the book goes on Stouts true colors come to surface. One night aboard the ship Stout stole an egg from the Captains quarters. When it comes to the Captains attention that the egg has been stolen from him, he had Clay Purvis flogged.
All the while Stout watched with out any remorse..