In the essay “Reapers and Sowers” this woman Jamaica Kincaid explains how she wanted to speak of a Garden that held great importance. At first she had trouble picking a garden because she wanted her speech to be meaningful and deep. After a lot of thinking she came across a garden with a statue of John Caldwell Calhoun. Kincaid used Gardens to point out the hypocrisy of the way white Americans had treated African Americans by describing how the beauty of gardens covers up the tireless forced labor that the slaves that built the garden were put through. “The garden is not a place to lose your cares; the garden is not a place of rest and repose.” Kincaid presents this idea of the fact that the people who worked on some really gorgeous gardens like Middleton Place were built completely by people who were owned by others with no freedom or healthy lifestyle. Jamaica also brings in the Auschwitz garden a garden built by people who were about to be murdered and they worked together to build this beauty that was complimentary to the Garden of Eden’s design. Many people are oblivious that slaves were beaten and even killed while trying to complete this garden of “Peace” and “Rest”. Going back to the Middleton place, the owner: Arthur Middleton had it build by Slaves while also being one of the people that signed for the abolishment of people owning people. The irony of Arthur MIddleton’s situation is just as ironic as the gardens themselves. Just like Jamaica Kincaid we must keep asking “Why must people insist that the garden is a place of rest and repose, a place to forget the cares of the world, a place in which to distance yourself from painful responsibility that comes with being a human being,” We must be aware of our country’s history and not just push it aside. This African American people gave their freedom, not willingly, and was forced to give their energy to the making of these “tranquil”, “Peaceful” and beautiful gardens. Even now our State is not completely free from the grasps of racism and we continue to build walls dividing our individuality.

1 Comment
  1. Ashton 3 years ago

    This is an interesting perspective on gardens. I suppose if we delve further into most places and architecture we could find a history behind it that somewhere shows the cruelty of mankind. I think that’s very important to remember and I enjoyed reading this because it put some perspective on my daily struggles.

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