Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Text used: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.
Laurel-Leaf Library  1980
ISBN: 0-440-96132-7

For Wikipedia information on Paula Fox go here.

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Chapter Nine: Home and After








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  1. In a few words tell what kind of landscape Jessie is travelling through. How does it change as his journey progresses?
  2. One day, he arrives at a mansion and sees a man on horseback arriving at the house. As if summoned by the horse, three black men run to the rider and help him dismount. At the sight of that, Jessie feels frozen, choked, as he had been that first time on The Moonlight when he'd been summoned by Captain Cawthorne to dance the slaves. Why does he feel that way and what makes him relive that scene?
  3. Why does his mother have "brooding looks"? Why does Betty speak softly as if Jessie is an invalid? Why does Aunt Agatha treat him now with affection? Is it just because he has come back alive?
  4. Why does Jessie try to see in the walk of a black man "the man he had once been before he'd been driven through the dangerous heaving surf to a long boat,...."?
  5. Where is Rhode Island. How many miles away from New Orleans is it? Why did Jessie and his family go there, even though he can't forget the place of his birth?
  6. What war is Jessie talking about?
  7. What was the Emancipation Proclamation?
  8. What happened in Andersonville?
  9. Although Jessie's journey on The Moonlight was a terrible experience, it had one major positive result. Explain.

Pyramid of Action

The plot of The Slave Dancer is made up of a number of episodes or separate incidents. These incidents are connected in some way so that the plot is tied together.
The Slave Dancer breaks down into a traditional five-part structure. These parts are as follows.

  • exposition - an introduction to the main characters and situations of the plot.
  • rising action - the events and complications that lead to an important and dramatic point in the plot.
  • climax - the point of greatest interest and emotional involvement in the plot.
  • falling action - the events that develop from the climax and lead to the conclusion.
  • resolution or denouement - the final outcome which ties up any loose ends left in the story.


Below is a list if major episodes in The Slave Dancer. Copy these episodes on a chart in your notebook (similar to the chart given at the end)

After you finish putting these events in the proper order, turn the diagram sideways and draw the pyramid diagram (right over your answers in a different colour ink) to reflect where the five elements of the plot occur. Then label the parts of the pyramid.

Note: Your pyramid may look lopsided (one side longer than the other)

Major Episodes:

  • Jessie and Ras meet the old man.
  • The slaves come aboard The Moonlight.
  • The Captain throws Nicholas Spark overboard.
  • Stout throws Jessie's pipe into the hold.
  • Stout makes a fatal mistake.
  • Jessie is kidnapped.
  • Jessie wanders around the slave market of New Orleans.
  • Jessie moves to Rhode Island.
  • The ship is wrecked in the hurricane.
  • The slaves are thrown overboard.

One Step Further

Review your study of the motifs. Then write an essay explaining how three of the motifs below are in some way present at or connected to the climax of the novel.

  1. Death
  2. Mental and physical decay
  3. Punishment
  4. Weather conditions
  5. Kindness and compassion

Devote a paragraph a piece to the discussion of each motif.

Final Assignment

Do you ever fantasize? Have you ever thought what it would be like to meet someone thirty years later, wondering what would have happened over those years? The theme of the movie Back to the Future was based on that idea.
Create a sequel to The Slave Dancer using motifs and conflict situations mentioned earlier, and describe clearly an accidental meeting between Ras and Jessie thirty years after they last saw each other at the end of the novel.
Tell the reader precisely when and where they meet. Don't forget that the year is 1870, so you can't use airplanes, busses, cars, telephones, TV's etc. in your descriptions. There were steamboats, steam trains, horse-and-buggies, and so on. Also remember that Ras and Jessie are now 44 years old. Make them act like adults, not like the kids they were in the story. However, they still must have somewhat the same personalities. It might not be a bad idea to check on the history of the U.S.A. and/or Canada during the 1870's. For instance, how were the race relations in those days?

Pyramid of Action Chart

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