67 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2021
  2. digital-grainger.github.io digital-grainger.github.io
    1. the white plumage of the prickly vine

      I find it so suggestive that Grainger embeds this image of night-blooming cereus in a stanza about enslaved Africans traveling between plantations at night. What happens at night that is beyond the perception and surveillance of enslavers?

    2. Indian gardens

      Grainger tropes the Caribbean landscape as an "Indian" garden even though what he has been describing in previous stanzas is a heterogeneous landscape composed of American, African, and European plants.

    3. From a good daemon’s staff cassada sprang, [450] Tradition says, and Caribbees believe; Which into three the white-rob’d genius broke, And bade them plant, their hunger to repel.

      This article goes into the cosmological/mythological significance cassava today among indigenous peoples in Guyana: https://www.commodityhistories.org/research/cassava-spirit-and-seed-history-biocultural-history-staple-crop-amazonian-guyana

    4. This plant is called four o’clock by the natives

      I do wonder who the "natives" are (if this term is being used her as an equivalent for "creoles," perhaps). I also am intrigued by the ambiguity of the lines on this page: on the one hand, they could be read as Grainger's romanticization/naturalization of the rhythms/temporal discipline of plantation labor. On the other, they hint at a different time scale determined by plants other than sugar.

    5. so they can also do good on a plantation, provided they are kept by the white people in proper subordination.

      Although Grainger emphasizes that obeah practitioners or healers need to be kept in "proper subordination," he still acknowledges that they can "do good on a plantation." I wonder how self-aware Grainger was of the limitations of European medicine (i.e., his own practice), as well as of the failure of enslavers to provide medical care.

    6. This the Negroes extract without bursting, by means of a needle, and filling up the place with a little snuff; it soon heals, if the person has a good constitution.

      Grainger admits that enslaved Africans knew how to deal with this illness/parasite themselves.

    7. NOR, Negroe, at thy destiny repine

      At this moment, Grainger imagines himself directly addressing an enslaved individual.

    8. By soothing words, by menaces, by blows: Nor yet will threats, or blows, or soothing words

      I'm noticing the quick transition from "soothing words" to "blows" here--and then back again in the second line.

    9. the American fortune-tellers

      I wonder who "the American fortune-tellers" are, exactly?

    10. likest that Which they at home regal’d on

      From Grainger's point of view, there's a practical reason to know what foods enslaved Africans ate in Africa, but I wonder if we can read this against the grain to see how the poem reveals details about African foodways and their survival/persistence in the Americas.

    11. Negroes when bought should be young, and strong. The Congo-negroes are fitter for the house and trades, than for the field

      Even the "argument" or summary makes clear the difficulties involved with reading and interpreting this section of the poem, which Grainger uses to classify African peoples according to their tractability/suitability for plantation labor and enslavement.

    12. Their wives plant rice, or yams, or lofty maize,581 Fell hunger to repel

      I wonder if this line could be connected to discussions/debates over African cultivation of rice and the transferral of African rice planting cultures to the Americas.

    13. What care the jetty African requires?

      The contrast between "care" and the objectification of enslaved Africans in this line really sticks out at me on this re-reading of the poem: Grainger's definition of care is conditioned by his desire to construct a docile, productive workforce.

    14. A muse that pities thy distressful state

      To continue the conversation from this morning's hypothes.is workshop: what role is the muse playing here? Does the muse enable disavowal of the realities of slavery? Or something else? What happens if we track references to the muse throughout the poem?

    15. THE S U G A R - C A N E. BOOK IV.

      We invite you to annotate Book IV in particular because it is the section of The Sugar-Cane that discusses slavery in the most detail. It is also the most commonly excerpted section of the poem.

    16. What ills await the ripening Cane

      Grainger sees sugar cane as a patient subject to "ills."

  3. Jun 2018