Racism In Oronoko

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In her novel Oroonoko, Aphra Behn gives the reader insight into the British Empire, its relationship with other nations and empires, the institution of slavery, and into the lives of those living and working at plantations in Surinam. Whether her tale is entirely true with just the names changed, or intensely embellished in order to provide the audience with a rapt tale of adventure and intrigue, there is enough accurate information to portray these various little worlds of a North African kingdom, or a plantation in Surinam in such a way that the reader may ascertain some of what life in that time and place may have been like. Certainly it is clear that the politics of the time are exceedingly different to what one would consider appropriate today, but additionally it can be noted that the lines of class deeply influence position and political correctness much more significantly than they do in the 21st century. Behn, as an avid royalist and with her own connections to the monarchy in England, makes very clear that class, royalty, and prestige are far more important to her than race. This is not to say that Behn does not acknowledge race at all, it is a significant factor in the plot of the novel, and in fact it is interesting to see the differences in the ways race is viewed. She appears to find Oroonoko’s position as a slave almost an unfortunate accident of skin color, given his high stature and yet does not see the same in the other slaves. Behn sees the local,

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