Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Roots


I just re-read this book to see if i felt the same way about the book as I felt so many years ago.
When i first picked this book up in 11th grade, i was more interested in the name of the book than the actual contents..(my dad and mom worked for Roots Industries, Cbe).. but once i began reading it, it was just a whirlwind tour - right from the forests of native africa to the developed streets of america.. yes.. it describes a tour..not of a single person..but of 7 generations of a single family.. The book begins in the equatorial dense jungles of native africa.. the tribes, their way of life, their crude customs etc is beautifully brought out through the story of a little boy, who's birth co-incides with the beginning of the book..
when you think that you are comfortably transported to this peaceful world of the natives, people unaware of the civilised world sorrounding them, you are cruelly hit by reality.. you then realise that the book has nothing to do with the life of kunta kinte(the boy) in africa.. it deals with torture, slavery and forceful bondage.. the most disturbing part of the novel is ofcourse, the travel from africa to america by sea... the way the african slaves are tortured is heart wrenching..
And ofcourse, as expected, illtreatment and misfortunes dont end with the journey.. the book goes on to tell you about the lives of the black slaves in america.. all through the eyes of the successors of kunta kinte..family separations as members are sold to other places makes you want to cry..
but its not a dark and gloomy book.. without stopping at the bad times, the books go on to describe the freedom from slavery for the blacks and their development in america.. the book ends with the seventh generation successor of kunta kinte.. a free african-american in america - Alex Haley, the author himself!
It is a beautiful book and its quite an eye-opener too. An guess what, reading it the second time was just as interesting as reading it the first!

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