Jamaica Kincaid’s essay “Reapers and Sowers” talks about a woman who is deciding which garden to talk about but it all changed when she came across a garden with a statue of John Caldwell Calhoun, this garden reminded her of a book called “Garden and Farm Books” by Thomas Jefferson which talks about his domestic life and it compares and contrasts his relationship with his slaves. Kincaid uses the motif of the garden to point out the hypocrisy of the way white people treated African Americans by explaining Thomas Jefferson’s book and connecting it to the garden with John Calhoun’s statue because both of their garden’s beauty covers up the forced labor done by African American slaves. When she talks about “Farm”, she says “None of these names appear in the “Garden” book, the garden is free of their presence, but they turn up in the “Farm” book.” In “Garden”, it talks about the appearances of the garden and what flowers were there but in “Farm”, it mentions the names of the African American slaves that worked to build the garden and what they had to do to in order to make it happen. She compares the books by its differences. Later in the essay, she says ” A garden is not a place to lose your cares; the garden is not a place of rest and repose.” A garden may look mesmerizing and pretty but it is not a place for relaxation because gardens like the one in Thomas Jefferson’s book and the one with the John Calhoun statue were made by slaves. They were people who were put their hard work and dedication into their work and were forced to do this. They didn’t care about the slaves since they weren’t healthy all the time and they would whip the slaves as punishment if they disobeyed their owners. In conclusion, white people treated African Americans badly by hiding it under the beauty of gardens.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 The Ugly Truth Beneath the Beauty of Lies by Joyce is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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