If the cover art for Hannah Crafts’ The Bondwoman’s Narrative were to ever be recreated, I think this would do it justice. The most significant scene of the the novel was Hannah’s escape with her mistress. All they must do is cross the river and get the freedom they so long for. However, with freedom comes sacrifice. Which brings me to my next point: freedom is never free. Why would you need to sacrifice or fight for something that is part of you basic human rights? Heavy topic right? I know. Like many people in my American Women Writers class and I’m sure around the world believe in that statement. Hannah and her mistress do indeed escape, but the shadows of their past pains and hardships follow. First of all, they get lost during their great escape, causing delay in their quest for freedom. Secondly, Hannah’s mistress slowly becomes insane; only proving the inescapable mental and emotional effects of being bound to something. Thirdly, Mr.Trappe, ever so creepishly, shows up near the place Hannah and her mistress resided. Meaning, what both characters try to flee from always comes back to find them.
So how will we ever know we are free? That’s something you must answer for yourself.
This cover art reflects this notion of freedom in Hannah Crafts’ story. She is freed and escapes the turmoil of slavery. In fact, she has a pretty happy ending. However, Hannah can’t help but place the freedom question into her reader’s head. Her story is so intense, shared, and brutally honest, even trying to forget it is impossible. It’s a memory that just doesn’t go away. Like the woman in the picture expresses: you can break free from the load in which your chains bind you to, but the chains themselves would be harder to part from. Even if they do come off, the scars will remain as a constant reminder, and the pain will be the imprint that lies under those scars.