On the Atlantic Ocean (Location Key)


The Atlantic Ocean is the scene of events involving characters in two fictions. Both are traveling to America, but in very different circumstances. When Horace Benbow returns from France at the end of World War I in Flags in the Dust, his inept experiments with glassblowing start a fire in his cabin on the liner he's a passenger on. The situation remains comic, but the captain asks him to stop until they reach land, "what with all the men on board" (158). This last detail suggests the liner is currently serving as a troop ship, though Horace himself was a noncombatant. In "Red Leaves," the enslaved protagonist recalls what is usually referred to as the 'Middle Passage,' when he spent "ninety days in a three-foot-high tween-deck in tropical latitudes" during the crossing, as part of the 'cargo' of enslaved people bound for the U.S. (330). From within that confined space he can hear "the drunken New England captain" reading the Bible aloud (330).

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On the Atlantic Ocean
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On the Atlantic Ocean