Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Haley Scholars (Group A1) Rion Amilcar Scott's “On the Occasion of the Death of Freddie Lee"



[Haley Reading groups Fall 2021]

Rion Amilcar Scott's "On the Occasion of the Death of Freddie Lee" focuses on the experiences of people on a slave-like rice farm. The protagonist becomes increasingly troubled that the group of laborers are prevented from addressing the death of Freddie, who died working and remained facedown in the crops for some time.

The story is eerie, disturbing, and at times gruesome as we consider what it means that a dead body remains on the ground and people are forced to continue working. 

What did you find most interesting, unsettling, or noteworthy about this story? 

122 comments:

Jasmine B. said...

What I think the most unsettling aspect of this story is that the people were not only forced to work during slave-like conditions but next to a dead body at that. I could not fathom the idea of people working while looking at such a gruesome sight. The people looking at such a eerie sight could not even do anything but wish they were anywhere else besides that farm.It is crazy to think that once upon a time this really was many people lives'.

Jasmine J. said...

The most unsettling/disturbing thing to me in this story was that on top of already working in hot conditions outside and all of that they have to work next to a dead body. Me personally I dont think I could handle that. The thought of working next to someone who is dead does not sit right with me and plus with the body just sitting there it is also decomposing which means they also had to smell the dead body while working out in the field and I know that smell was not pleasant !

Vernell Jackson said...

What I found the most disturbing about the story besides the dead body was the dead cow. It was hard to read after someone slaughtered a cow into a thousand pieces. Also the people that were forced to work in those conditions next to a dead body was horrific.

Vernell Jackson said...

What I found the most disturbing about the story besides the dead body was the dead cow. It was hard to read after someone slaughtered a cow into a thousand pieces. Also the people that were forced to work in those conditions next to a dead body was horrific.

Kemry H said...

I think the most unsettling part of the story was the fact that they were forced to work next to the dead body. As hot as it was, I could only imagine the smell and how the body looked. I do respect them for attempting to move the body, as no one should have to see that every day. I didn't feel any remorse for what happened to the Thug Riders in the end. I think they deserved it.

Itangishatse Bujeni said...

Of all the passages in this book this one has to be the most traumatic. I think what frightened the narrator the most about Freddie lees death was how little it affected anyone, how quickly and easily everyone was ready to move forward as if Freddie’s existence never mattered. This passage was very disheartening, the most unsettling part was how real it felt. It didn’t feel real because of Freddie’s corpse rising and getting revenge on the cow for pecking at him, but real because of all the Freddie lees who died in slavery, working to the bone, just to be easily forgotten, not even a moment of silence taken, as if they were never a life. It’s even more unsettling how life isn’t too far from that today. Everyday people work themselves as hard as Freddie did and their lives are easily forgotten. What is the purpose behind the work when there is no value for human life? How is the importance of what one contributes to society measured? Why are we expected to quickly get back into work after a tragedy as if it is more important than life?

Itangishatse Bujeni said...

Of all the passages in this book this one has to be the most traumatic. I think what frightened the narrator the most about Freddie lees death was how little it affected anyone, how quickly and easily everyone was ready to move forward as if Freddie’s existence never mattered. This passage was very disheartening, the most unsettling part was how real it felt. It didn’t feel real because of Freddie’s corpse rising and getting revenge on the cow for pecking at him, but real because of all the Freddie lees who died in slavery, working to the bone, just to be easily forgotten, not even a moment of silence taken, as if they were never a life. It’s even more unsettling how life isn’t too far from that today. Everyday people work themselves as hard as Freddie did and their lives are easily forgotten. What is the purpose behind the work when there is no value for human life? How is the importance of what one contributes to society measured? Why are we expected to quickly get back into work after a tragedy as if it is more important than life?

Erin Myers said...

Anaya J.:

The most disturbing/unsettling thing to me in this story was that on top of already working in hot conditions outside basically manual labor, also their forced to work during slave like conditions but next to a dead body at that like where’s the compassion. I could not imagen the thought of people working while looking at such a gruesome sight.

Erin Myers said...

Natalie G.:

I found it most disturbing that they had dead bodies lying next to them while they worked. The dead bodies probably had a smelly oder to them as well. I can’t imagine how they felt. Not only did the bodies stink, but it was also hot weather that these people were working in. For them to be working in these conditions disgust me.

Stephanie H. said...

My biggest concern in this story is the fact that they must work next to a dead body while already working in hot conditions outside. For myself, that would be too difficult. Considering that a body is lying there still decomposing, it must also have been a very unpleasant smell for those that were working in the field next to the dead body. It is admirable that they try to move their bodies, because nobody should be subjected to that every day. After what happened to the Thug Riders, I didn't feel any remorse. In my opinion, they deserved it.

Stefani F said...

What was most unsettling about this story was that some people wanted to pick and choose who they wanted to mourn. On top of people working in horrible conditions, you have to work in a field on the top of the body of someone you once called a friend. I also found it interesting how Papa Troy was so emotional about a cow but didn't care for the man the slaved so hard that he died in the field and no one was there to help him.

Ehijie Ilenikhena said...

What I found most disturbing were the dead bodies that lay next to them as they were working. Doing manual labor is already hard enough, adding hot temperature and unruly worklike conditions make it even worse. Then on top of all that, they had to work next to dead bodies. I honestly cannot imagine going through that one bit. I already complain about working a 10-hour shift outside during my summer job with 15 min breaks, I definitely couldn't handle what they did.



Ehijie.I

Cidney C. said...

The most unsettling part for me was how they had to watch and just accept the cow eating their friend because they weren't allowed to stop it. It's hard enough to continue labor in the blazing heat with a dead body decomposing next to you, so the cow really makes it worse. Also, the part when they tried to move the body and they were whipped for it was truly heartbreaking.

Layla Brooks said...

The thing that I found interesting is that people would only mourn for certain people. Then forget about certain people or not care about their life on the earth beforehand. Also I find something concerning that when they tried to talk about what they saw about Freddie and no one wanted to talk about it or was too scared to even mention it.

Nija Hendricks said...

I find it interesting that only three "saw" Freddie Lee get his revenge on the cow and sure the logic of "How come we're not bathed in cows blood" is solid. I have little to no doubt they killed the cow especially after the last 3 sentences clearly they know how to work together. I do feel bad that Freddie never got his due respect despite all the hard work he put in.

Tashauri Fuller said...

Already knowing the circumstances of slaves , what I found most unsettling is the fact that they had to work next to dead bodies. The bodies were not random people but were slaves that they knew and I'm pretty sure grew a connection with. I know that was something hard to have to deal with and very traumatizing.

Tamia Goodlow said...

The disturbing part for me would be how they were working in terrible conditions. Along with this the fact that they were working near dead bodies as well, imagining the smell of a decomposing corspe is god awful. I feel like any sane and reasonable human wouldn't be able to work like that, but it was horrible how they were still forced.
-Tamia Goodlow(11.11)

Airika Carr said...

The most disturbing part is the conditions they were forced to work in. The position they were in was already terrible but having to actually do work with a body decaying in the same area seems like a little so much. Just having to smell that and all the bugs the body attracted was gross, what if someone else had gotten sick due to the body being left there we know they wouldn't care but it's still sad. I felt bad that they had to just try and ignore their dead friend and work. Even when they wanted to move it and tried but they got beaten for doing so what is the point of leaving a dead body in the way of where they have to work. Also, what was the points of killing the cow and cutting it up and leaving it there to just rot?
-Airika Carr

Jonathan H said...

The most noteworthy thing about this story is its handling of the apathy of death of people in power. Freddie's death is treated as if it was a completely insignificant occurrence, and everyone is expected to move on as if it hadn't happened. I see it as a commentary of how those in power completely lose sight of the humanity of those not in similar positions as them, and how easy it can be to cast aside someone for their own ends.

Keiahjah said...

something I found unsettling is Freddie Lee coming from the dead and to rip the cow into thousand of pieces the book stated. I'm just not sure on how a dead person want to come alive and kill a cow what did the cow do to him is my question why did he want to get the cow. That kinda made it seem like he was still in dream. And he mention mark taking a bath in cow blood it was just really confusing to me honestly.



Keiahjah Mosely

Tamya Goodlow said...

For me it was unsettling that they had to constantly work in very harsh conditions while seeing their dead friend on the ground. A decomposing body should be taken care of, not just sitting there left to rot. I feel as though that was unjust, inhumane, and all in all disturbing.
-Tamya Goodlow

Udochukwui Chikere said...

I was left confused after reading this passage. Left with many questions as always. The readers are given the sense that Freddie Lee got revenge his revenge by tearing up the cows, but who was it intended for? was he getting revenge on the cow itself or someoneelse? Why couldn't the kids openly discuss what they saw? And what could have possibly happened to Freddie's body?
- Udochukwu Chikere

Shaquerria Cole said...

The thing I found most unsettling was the fact that the weren't able to put Freddie Lee's body to rest the right way and they had to continue to work beside it. At the end it looked like Luke had had enough. He might have saw realize what was going on, or maybe it a dream.

Niylah Edwards said...

The most unsettling issue in this story was the fact that these people were overworked in hot weather, while doing this they were next to dead bodies. That is considered abuse, and no one should have to work in these conditions. I am sure some people could not even stomach the smell of these bodies and animals. If the body was in the way they would try to move it, but they would get beaten for trying to move it. In these actions of these people killing, he thought it may have been a dream. All of this was inhumane, horrific, and torturing.
-Niylah E.

Colette Jackson said...

I feel as if this story really caught me in a dead stop. I couldn't even get over the fact that as they were working so hard in the weather, which couldn't hav been enjoyable and probably was quite dangerous to even be sitting in, they had to work beside a dead body. Not even just a dead body but the body of a friend, I can't even imagine how everything like the factors from the dead body could have a negative impact on the worker. I also found it so sad when they got punishment for trying to move the dead body, they just wanted some peace.
-Colette J.

Naomi B. said...

The most unsettling part in the story was how they left Freddie Lee's body laid out on the ground. It's one thing to have to witness someone dying due to exhaustion but to witness his body laid out, day after day while a cow picked pieces of him off is by far the most disturbing. I can't imagine witnessing anything like that, let alone be whipped for trying to put someone to rest. The fact that they let his mutilated body soak in the sun is horrific.
-Naomi B.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Gamble

What I thought most unsettling about this story was the work conditions that these people were forced to work in. It's unsettling because these people had to work next to dead bodies in hot weather. No one should have to go through this. I could only imagine how disrespected these people felt.

Z"Kya Dixon said...

I was most uneasy by the fact that they didn't let the other move the body. I feel like they were trying to make a statement were it wasn't necessary. To let it stay there to the point were the cow was eating at it. Is crossing a very disturb line. I also noted that he was very upset about the cow. Like oveerlly upset. It mentions how he throws his head back and in tears all over a cow.

Tomia B. said...

The most unsettling thing about this story was the unfortunate life these slaves had to live. Already having to work in terrible conditions, they were also force to witness and work with the presence of dead corps. Working in these types of conditions can mentally scar someone forever. I could never imagine what it is like to have to deal with such a scaring event.

Shelbe D said...

What I found most disturbing about this story was Freddie Lees's dead body and how it rotted away. How no one had time to mourn his death or let alone express themselves, Freddie's decaying body was like an example of what could happen to them. I felt like the slave owners left his dying body there as some sort of example.

Anijah Barringer said...

After reading “On the Occasion of the Death of Freddie Lee”, the story had my mind everywhere. I think that the most unsettling thing to me was the workers having to continue work next to a dead body. I just could not imagine that. And it is very inhumane for something like that to be seen as normal. And the sad part is that this situation was an actual reality for people and they sadly had no choice, at the time, to just deal with it. And their working hours were very extreme.
-Anijah B.

Alayah D. said...

The most disturbing part about this story was the working conditions. No one should be forced to work in such inhumane conditions. On top of working in the worst weather, they had to work next to a dead body. A body that was left there to rot away with no one to mourn over. The treatment that the slaves endured is enough to scar someone for a lifetime.

Damya Evans said...

What I found most unsettling about this story was that when Luke and Little Yuni went out to move their friends body from the shallow waters they were beaten until they had raw wounds on their chest and backs. I found this unsettling because they wanted to move his body so that it would not be devoured by animals and they were punished for it.

-Damya Evans

Taylor Corbin said...

Taylor C. Said
This chapter has to be the most disturbing part yet. I was just taken back by how bad the working conditions were. The fact that they had to work with dead bodys next to them and it was hot. That has to be the inhuman position to be in. I know for a fact I would not have been able to live like that.

Unknown said...

The most unsettling part was the sympathy Papa Troy had for the cow, but not for Freddy Lee. He was able to mourn the death of his beloved cow for three hours in front of the worker. While he forced the workers to work next to their dead friend. Allowing them to work in these conditions shows the dehumanization during this time.

Kahleea W

Indya Howard said...

The most distrubing part of this story for me was the fact that Freddie's body couldn't be removed in fact the kids were punished for trying to move it.To allow Freddie's body to rot and soak in the hot sun is a horrific image on it's own but to work next to it as well was unsettleing and raw for me. Why was the body allowed to decompose in front of everyone to the point the cows were eating at Freddie's body? It made it seem like that Papa wanted to make Freddie an example to the rest of the slaves in some sort of sick way to show them this may be what happens to them sooner or later.

Unknown said...

What I found most disturbing is the way that they slaughtered that cow into so many pieces. Also, the way that they paid no real attention to that dead body and worked around it like it was an everyday thing. That just really messed me up in the head.

Jercura K. said...

The thing that I felt most disturbed by was not only the slave like conditions the people had to work in, but the fact that they had to continuously work next to Freddie's dead body as if he wasn't there. It's disturbing to see someone's dead body yet alone think about how that could simply be you. Another disturbing detail to remember is how Luke and Yuni were brutally beaten for simply trying to move Freddies body.

-Jercura Kindred

Ruth B. said...

After reading this chapter of the book, what I found most disturbing was the fact that everyone who knew Freddie Lee , was deeply sad because their friend died, as a result of working tirelessly. In addition, they worked in unconditioned environment which was also disturbing. One line quote in this chapter that evoked emotion in me was when it said, "Freddie Lee believed in this life with the entirety of his-unbeknownst to him-dying heart." Lastly, it was disturbing that the other people that knew Freddie had to just do nothing but keep working and didn't grieve like they wanted to and the fact that they also got beat when they were attempting to move his body.

Ruth B.

Marcus G. said...

The thing that disturbed me a lot is the fact that the conditions were absolutely horrible to the point that the slaves were dropping dead, being forced to work around the dead bodies until the owners authorized them to clean up the body. It is very disturbing that they also had to watch the cow basically eat parts of Freddie and they could not do anything about it.
Papa had tried to show a lesson in some way, and that way was letting Freddie rot in front of them. The kids also got punished for trying to move the dead body away. This itself made me uneasy and I could not even begin to imagine what it would be like if that happened to me.

Anonymous said...

While reading this chapter I found the most disturbing is the numbness to violence/death. Seeing the slave(s) work next to Lee's body was just horrific to attempt at imagining, thinking about the conditions the slaves worked in and how hard it must be as it is working next to a body is terrifying. It makes me think about the slave(s) inability to be able to grieve and the trauma that stems from such experiences.

OLUWATOMISIN AROGUNDADE said...

The thing that disturbed me the most was that the main character, Luke, and Yuni had to continue working in the field while there was a dead body around. I don't understand why Luke and Yuni got beaten for moving the body and trying to pay respects, it's just heartless. How can you expect these people to carry on working as if someone didn't die where they are at? This chapter just annoyed me.

Latavia Bryant said...

The most unsettling part of this story is that the workers were forced to work next to this dead body and on top of that it was very hot outside. I can't imagine the smells that were coming from the baking decaying body. I can't imagine what that would do to someone's mental having to see someone dead and also continue working as if nothing is wrong.

-Latavia Bryant

Shakyiah C said...

I found this story interesting and unsettling all at the same time. It's disturbing what the cow did to Freddie Lee and how descriptive the story got in telling what his face look like afterwards. I like that Freddie came back from the dead to get a part his revenge of how miss treated he was. I also like that the main character and his friends got revenge for Freddie and realized that their world is horrible. So, they chose to set the plantation or at least the field on fire. I think it was a good story all together. It seems like it would be a story that would be told for generations in their universe and soon become an urban legend. Not being able to decipher what was real and what's not.

Arieona B. said...

As I was reading the story the things I found the most unsettling was of course Freddie’s body being left out to rot, but mainly the rest of the people being forced to work around it and watch him slowly decompose. The fact that Papa Troy could careless was sickening and inhumane especially seeing how emotional he became over a horse and not his hardest worker. It was even more unsettling when they were beaten for trying to move the body. But what I found interesting was only those who were beaten saw Freddie Lee corpse kill the cow and no one else.
- Arieona B.

Harrison B. said...

What I found the most disturbing in this passage was the description of the dead bodies. The words that were used to describe Freddie Lee's body and the cow's body were very descriptive. These words were so descriptive, I was starting to imagine what they looked like in my head. This was not a great image to be thinking about while I was reading the story.

Taylor Gray said...

What I found most unsettling and saddening about this story was how the slaves had worked in such poor conditions and how it was normal to have work around the slaves who had dropped dead while working. Also, the fact that when the people tried to go out and move Freddie Lee's body, they were whipped and punished for it, I found that to be very inhumane. I find the people in this story very strong for being able to work in those horrible conditions and to be treated as less than human, and to think that things like this actually happened is heart breaking.

Chloe Hatcher said...

I think the most unsettling part of the story was how they wouldn't allow Freddie's dead body to be removed. On top of that the slaves had to work around the body and the kids also had to see it.

Kennedy J said...

The most unsettling part was that they had to work next to a dead body as if it wasn't even there. I've heard how bad a dead body smells so to be forced to work in those conditions was very inhumane. I couldn't understand why anyone of the workers or anyone in charge couldn't move the body at least a little more farther from the workers.

Jenaya G. said...

What I found the most disturbing about the story besides the dead body was the dead cow. It was hard to read after someone slaughtered a cow into a thousand pieces. Also the people that were forced to work in those conditions next to a dead body was horrific.

Raven Dewalt said...

The fact that they were forced to labor next to a dead body was probably the most disturbing aspect of the narrative. I could only picture the scent and how the corpse looked, given how hot it was. The cow was also slaughtered. It was revolting that they forced individuals to labor in such deplorable conditions and didn't seem to mind.


Raven Dewalt

Aunye Harrold said...

I think the most disturbing thing is that they were working the slaves so much that they were dying and just not doing anything about it. Having to work near a dead body and paying no mind to it is not an easy thing to do and can definitely mess with your head. even the thought of it makes me feel sick, I can only imagine how they feel.

Arieona B. said...

As I was reading the story the things I found the most unsettling was of course Freddie’s body being left out to rot, but mainly the rest of the people being forced to work around it and watch him slowly decompose. The fact that Papa Troy could careless was sickening and inhumane especially seeing how emotional he became over a horse and not his hardest worker. It was even more unsettling when they were beaten for trying to move the body. But what I found interesting was only those who were beaten saw Freddie Lee corpse kill the cow and no one else.
-Arieona B.

Starr C said...

The most unsettling thing to me was how they had to work around the body for so long. To not only see your friend die but to watch them slowly decay has to be a traumatic experience. Another thing I questioned while reading is why they had a beautiful burial for mama Yona but not even a burial for their friend.
-Starr C.

Alexis D said...

The thing that I found the most interesting, unsettling, or noteworthy about this story was the fact that the slaves had to work no matter the weather conditions. Like it was so hot that people dropped to the ground lifeless because of how hot it was and they were not giving breaks to stay hydrated. The thing that was unsetting is that the slaves had to keep working even though there was a dead body right next to them. I could not even imagine working in that type of conditions just like I could not imagine the smell that arose from the bodies and having to keep working because if not I would be pushed. And it is the fact that these bodies who just had life in them are dropping and everyone acts as if nothing is going on.

Alexis D said...

The thing that I found the most interesting, unsettling, or noteworthy about this story was the fact that the slaves had to work no matter the weather conditions. Like it was so hot that people dropped to the ground lifeless because of how hot it was and they were not giving breaks to stay hydrated. The thing that was unsetting is that the slaves had to keep working even though there was a dead body right next to them. I could not even imagine working in that type of conditions just like I could not imagine the smell that arose from the bodies and having to keep working because if not I would be pushed. And it is the fact that these bodies who just had life in them are dropping and everyone acts as if nothing is going on.

Zion H said...


What was really terrible was the fact that the environment where the slaves were was bad conditions and they were dying and getting hurt. Also them being forced to work around died bodies until their owners told them to clean them up. It was also nasty and horrifying having them watch the cows eat Freddie.

Aminah A. Haynes said...

From reading the story, "On the Occasion of the Death of Freddie Lee" What I found the most unsettling was Freddie's death working out in the field and having his body just out there to rot and no one there to even care about it. Also what was disturbing was people being forced to work around it and the dead cow being slaughtered. These events reflect on slavery was and how it even is now modern day since slavery is still concurring in certain areas. This passage showed how there were no source of value for human life.

-Aminah Haynes

Chidi Anyamele said...

For me, the most interesting/disturbing thing was how they all just had to watch the cow eat their friend. The fact that they couldn't do anything about it was just also sickening. To top it all off they had to do laborious work in a hot environment...one with a dead body just slowly rotting away in the heat.
-Chidi Anyamele

Unknown said...

Carmesha J.
The most upsetting about this chapter would have to be that not only did you have to see your friend and or somebody you worked with get killed but they didn't remove the his body and you had to work around it. The trauma they endured watching the body rot and they didn't even care to clean him up and simply remove him out of sight shows how brutal they were. Treating them as if they weren't even human making them work under any circumstances is unreal.

Amy descollines said...

The thing I found most unsettling was the conditions they were working in. There were slaves dying right next to them and they didn’t do anything about it. They didn’t care! And don’t get me started on the working conditions. The simple fact that they were working in a hot environment with dead bodies right beside them is so unsettling.

Niate Kina said...

Personally, the most unsettling part of the story to me was how conditioned the slaves were to proceed as usual. Even though there was a dead body placed in close proximity of them, although they were most definitely disturbed by it, they did not and couldn’t even react to it. This is especially frightening because even though this is a story that the author thought to come up with, this is a scenario that could’ve possibly happened many years ago. On that note, after reading this, it leaves me pondering about how truly miserable slave time were.

Unknown said...

David Gaines...

After reading the story what I found most unsettling is that the slaves worked in those conditions and there was nobody who cared about them. They worked day in and day out until the day they died and that is just as cruel as it can get in my opinion.

Deborah Adekale said...

I found it extremely disturbing that the slaves had to work next to the people they lived with. The fact that they had to endure that and then having them watch a cow eat Freddie. They went though a lot and didn’t have to. Deborah Adekale

Deborah Adekale said...

I found it extremely disturbing that the slaves had to work next to the people they lived with. The fact that they had to endure that and then having them watch a cow eat Freddie. They went though a lot and didn’t have to.

Sheena C. said...

There is a common understanding that this chapter is centered around themes that correlate to how work is seen as more important than death, and you're only given importance in death if you had money or power. A theme that I find being presented is the idea of being forgotten. Not just with Lee who passed away from overworking, but the entire group of them working on a plantation and being forced to be forgotten. Especially since they themselves aren't given burials allowing for the slaves themselves to soon forget their friends who endured the same oppression and pain. This is continued even when they burn down the plantation in revolt at the end. Even one day that soon will be a forgotten place that was once a place of despair.
- Sheena C.

Deborah Adekale said...

I found it extremely disturbing that the slaves had to work next to the people they lived with. The fact that they had to endure that and then having them watch a cow eat Freddie. They went though a lot and didn’t have to.

Elizabeth Alao said...

What I though was unsettling was the fact that the cow ate Freddie Lee's face. Which connects to how slavery dehumanizes people, cows are vegetarians and don't even see black people as actual people and chooses to eat Freddie Lee because of that dehumanization. I think it's interesting how they use the cow as a sort of symbolism for that dehumanization. I also find it interesting how there's this form of whether what the narrator saw was real or not. I also found the comparison of Mama Yona death to Freddie Lee's death, how they memorialized and celebrated hers while they forgot about Freddie Lees's death.

Kevin Dillard said...

What I found unsettling was what was happening to his body afterwards. How he described a cow coming over and eat his head was disturbing to me. Especially how they couldn't move the body to work around it.

-Kevin Dillard

Tashauna F. said...

What I found most unsettling about "On the Occasion of the Death of Freddie Lee" is that Freddie's dead body was lying in the stock with a beaming sunset on him. But nobody was able to give him a proper burial, they were only allowed to describe how amazing and hard-working he was. The owners did not take into consideration the condition of this man and his body, they'd rather let the animals feed on him.

Aaron Crawford said...

While reading, I found the way the slaves were being treated. They were putting so much of a work load on them that they started to die, and nothing was done about it. It truly shows how expendable they were to their masters. It got bad to the point where the cows started to eat on the bodies. That's just completely sick to me. They were also punished for trying to move bodies which didn't sit right with me.

Unknown said...

From reading the story "On the Occasion of the Death of Freddie Lee" I found the fact that Freddie Lee seemed alive in after being dead for a long time. He had his face eaten off by a cow which gave me the impression he was actually dead. When they mentioned they saw him move and kill the cow confused me as in my head he was gone for good. This story has left me with the question of was he really dead to begin with and was faking or did he find a way to truly reviuve himself and escape his life as a slave?

-Maurius Gore

Jaliyah J said...

The most unsettling as the conditions they worked in they had a word similar to slaves and next to people who died, one man got eaten by a cow. The conditions they worked in were horrible they had people die from heat strokes from being soo hot. It was traumatizing people's friends slowly dying in front of each other.

Erin Myers said...

Thiane D.:

I believe the most disturbing part of about this chapter was the fact that the slaves still had to work while being around a dead body. I could not imagine the smell of a dead body and it just lying there like its nothing. I do not understand why a person would do this and believe it’s okay. I think another unsettling part was the fact that the slaves did not seem to have a reaction to it. I believe to them it was just another body and another day.

Erin Myers said...

Neville G.:

The thing that I found most unsettling in this story was when they kept working around the dead corpse, and didn’t bury them like when Mama Yona died. Then when the cow died, Papa cared more about that than Freddie. After all of that they all where still shocked that they seen what they seen.

Chanel Battle said...

What I found unsettling is the conditions the workers had to work in. It was hot and they were working next to dead bodies. People were dropping dead from the condition they were working in.

Anonymous said...

What I found the most interesting was how the story started to begin with. Right off the bat it started with Freddie dying and then commented on how he'd worked his life away, just to be repaid in death. This immediately caught my attention and held my interest. Imagine working so hard and loving your job so much, just to die during work and have nobody cover nor move your body.
- Camille Brown

Jordan Brawley said...

What I found to be the most unsettling is the harsh working conditions. They had to work around the dead corpse of their fellow colleagues and it was more unsettling than they she saw her friend's corpse on the ground.

Jordan Brawley said...

What I found to be the most unsettling is the harsh working conditions. They had to work around the dead corpse of their fellow colleagues and it was more unsettling than they she saw her friend's corpse on the ground.

Amber Dixon said...

What I found interestingly disturbing was how they had to watch the cow devour their friend. I'm sure it was upsetting they couldn't do anything about that, leaving them helpless.

kelly said...

I feel truly disturbed by the work conditions the slaves had to endure. The unethical and heartbreaking experience of working next to dead bodies. They already had to deal with long hours and short breaks. Imagine your life being treated as less important than a cow’s.
-Amoya B.

Jayda Adams said...

The unsettling part of the story to me is people were forced to work next to a dead body.

Unknown said...

I think the most unsettling part of the this story is that there was a dead body that people were forced to work next to. The dead body was most likely smelling by thus time and there were out in the heat. They had to been going through a lot dealing with that. I also think that the ending was settling because they got karma.
-Ivorie Arthurs

Jasmine D said...

What I found most disturbing about this text was the dead bodies that were left next to them as they were working. Doing manual labor is already hard enough, but adding hot temperature and terrible working conditions makes it even worse. On top of all that, they had to work next to the decaying dead bodies. I truly couldn't imagine going through something like that, you'd have to be a pretty strong individual to endure something as harsh as that. I already complain about working outside in the heat so I couldn't imagine what they had to go through especially with the different smells and unfair treatment.

Jordan L Allen said...

Once again, this chapter is mostly confusing at some points in time. It talks about the death of Freddie Lee and how the other characters like Luke and Little Yuni saw Freddie alive at one point. That's strange seeing that they all saw him die in the rice field while they were forced to keep working beside the dead body.

Tonia Estes said...

I found most unsettling was that no one saw the comparison to slaves; or if they did, no cared about it. If these people are going to treat non-living items like this, imagine how they probably treat the people in their everyday lives.

-Tonia Estes

Unknown said...

I felt that the story was really sick and kinda twisted especially with how the setting has taken place. I definitely think the character is a strong and resilient person for having to go through the circumstances he went through while going through the death of his friend

Damilola Adebisi said...


At first, when I read this story I was very confused. After reading it again I was kinda disturbed by some of the parts. One of the things I found disturbing was the horrible conditions they were forced to work in. Not only were they treated as slaves, but they also worked in hot weather, and lastly had to work with dead bodies. Just the thought of this makes me digested! They would have to see that every day while working.

Damilola Adebisi said...


At first, when I read this story I was very confused. After reading it again I was kinda disturbed by some of the parts. One of the things I found disturbing was the horrible conditions they were forced to work in. Not only were they treated as slaves, but they also worked in hot weather, and lastly had to work with dead bodies. Just the thought of this makes me digested! They would have to see that every day while working.

Chaz Hunter said...

What I found the most disturbing about the story besides the dead body was the dead cow. It was very hard to read after someone slaughtered a cow into thousands of pieces. Also the people that were forced to work in those conditions next to a dead body was horrible.
-Chaz Hunter

Erin Myers said...

Cortni J.:
I feel sad and bad for this specific thing because back then there were many times when anything bad could happen while slaves were working, such as a slave nearby being beaten or even a slave nearby being killed and in the midst of all of that happening, slaves were ordered to keep working and basically “mind their business”. It’s disgusting.

Erin Myers said...

Demoriay D.:

What got my attention in this story is the dead body. I was thinking in my head like how did the body look, how it smelled, and everything. In my head I could not handle working next to a dead body. The crazy part is people use to have to be comfortable working next to a dead body and I couldn’t do that. The condition and weather was probably bad back then too. It had me thinking a lot about stuff and very mysterious.

Honesty Simmons said...

The most disturbing aspect of this story is how Freddie Lee's companions were forced to continue working in the rice fields around his body without properly burying him. The condition and weather was probably bad back then too. It had me thinking a lot about stuff and very mysterious. Not only were they treated as slaves, but they also worked in hot weather, and lastly had to work with dead bodies.

Alexi J said...

What I found the most unsettling and disturbing was how Papa Troy stood on the porch and began crying when he was talking about betrayal and the love of his life. The people had in his rice fields were his slaves, made to work and only do that. He didn't even have the decency to give someone who wasn't his wife a proper burial or at the very least remove their body. Yet he had the audacity to cry to them about a betrayal. It just demonstrates how he didn't see them as real people and the only person who had feelings worth caring about was himself.

Alexi J.

Tyler Guthrie said...

After reading this story, what I saw to be the main emphasis had to do with the rotting corpse being consumed by cattle. Despite the entire situation being a tragedy, it seemed that they had no other choice but to ignore the dead body while working as they were under slave labor. In essence, this story brings mystery and cruelty as there were events in human history which should never be repeated.

Mysaiah Chambers said...

Personally, death is not an easy subject for me especially since I’ve lost several loved ones this year and last. Just to consider keeping a straight face and acting as if a soul, sister, brother, or in general a body on the ground, I hurt for them. I don’t even know what I would do in that situation because if someone was to die I would run right over to the body and help and I would suffer the consequences with no regrets for sure.

Kaelyn Cupil said...

What I found most noteworthy about the story is the way the author was able to spin Freddie’s death in a way at the end to make it seem like it was almost made up and we, the readers, had misunderstood something about his death. Especially because the other workers had to work despite the loss of their coworker… it was almost made to feel as if it didn’t happen at all. It gives the book an eerie twist that had not been picked up on in the beginning of the book.

Kaelyn Cupil

Anonymous said...

This chapter took me attention very quickly when presenting horrific imagery of a decomposing body. While reading this chapter I found it hard not to imagine what slave workers had running through their mind ignoring a corpse that may or may not have been a friend to them. Also, to see what my own ancestors have probably gone through it really made me appreciate the writing for making the suffering done is known.

Erin Myers said...

Tanija H.:

The most disturbing thing for me would have to the people having to work in bad conditions. This was very hard for me to know they were working there and dropping dead and having to work around the dead bodies was frightening. They also had to watch the animals eat each other with nothing to do about it. I hated this , this had to be my least favorite part of the book for sure.

Justin Burns said...

This chapter took me to an area I found to be very uncomfortable and tone setting. Today our stages of grief are a lot different than it was years ago, especially when referring to a slave's death. It really shocked me to see how insensitive slaves were raised into being when in strict working environments. While reading It was hard not to imagine that some (or majority) of those whom passed away while working had secret loved ones who suffered an extreme loss when the death occurred. This chapter really set off the tone of what it's like to not be wealthy and or in skin that matched unliked colors.

Ivan Johnson said...

The most unsettling part to me was the fact the workers had to continuing working even though Freddie's dead body was still there. Another unsettling/disturbing part in the story was the fact they killed a cow and worked next to it.

Kendall B. said...

Personally I feel that the story was interesting how the story had details on real life problems , with history and equality . The story include details on how slavery was and would look like in modern times. I found it uncomfortable reading about them trying to get rid of Freds body , but later in the story it made me feel better Freds friends were trying to get revenge for there friends death.

Erin Myers said...

Justin B.:

This chapter took me attention very quickly when presenting horrific imagery of a decomposing body. While reading this chapter I found it hard not to imagine what slave workers had running through their mind ignoring a corpse that may or may not have been a friend to them. Also, to see what my own ancestors have probably gone through it really made me appreciate the writing for making the suffering done is known.

Unknown said...

This story was very disturbing with the dead bodies and all and how they still had to work in those bad working conditions. While people are dying. Like just imagine how the slaves are thinking as their work next to a head body. They could be going through so much depression and anxiety. Still going to notice.

Anjeal Jones

Erin Myers said...

Willie D.:

What disturbed me was the dead body. The people in the story seen a dead body of someone they known. Then the cow was starting to eat the corpse which made it very disgusting to read. The worst thing about it was they was forced work while the dead body was still laying there.

Anonymous said...

This chapter was dreadful when learning about Freddy's dead and decomposing body. It was terrifying an made me quite angry to understand that there were people working and dropping dead. Not only that, people were still working amongst these dead bodies. This is the truth of my ancestors. It makes me realize that a lot of things learned in the classroom is not the clear honest truth. That curriculum barely scratches the surface.

Rotrisha Epps

Alex Childs said...

I feel that it's very unsettling to think these people were forced to work in the conditions. Conditions such as working along side a decomposing dead human corpse as well as it being super hot outside. I personally could't work in these types of conditions and its sad to see that people were forced to work like this. This chapter was terrifying to me, I really don't like gory type of things, so this chapter was a reading nightmare for me.

Marlon C said...

What I found most disturbing was that they would have to work next to dead bodies while being in the hot humidity. Some of the people that were dead, were once friends of the people working. That is very odd to me. Also, what I find very odd is that they choose to mourn and cry over different people. I think that is very off and weird. Something interesting but also upsetting to me is that Troy showed so much emotion towards the cow than the guy that worked so hard and died. I think it is also very odd that you can show an animal so much emotion and be so hurt over them but show little to no emotion towards a human being.

Erin Myers said...

Scott F.:

The story is unsettling to say the least. You would think being a slave or being in slavery is already inhumane enough, yet they take it to higher levels by leaving a dead body on the worksite. In slavery I’m pretty sure they disposed the people who died in the worksite. Another thing that caught my attention was that others moved on like it was nothing. They made it seem like it was the norm. It’s like nobody had any feelings and if they did, they were so scared that they had to suppress their emotions.

La’ Raye said...

What I found disturbing was how they just let the dead bodies just lay there & disintegrate. They are working outside in the heat with dead bodies just laying there. They also would slaughter cows into pieces. These all made me squirm while I reading this section. They treated the workers or slaves as they were nothing or animals. Which breaks my heart.
-La’Raye Littlepage

Kai Binta Steward said...

I think that the idea of eternal slumber was so eerie. It also just makes me think about the trauma that was inflicted daily and to add working in fields besides their family/friends that could be them next. This chapter really described a level of brutality that is often too hard to pinpoint.

Kelan Branch said...

I find the idea of being forced into labor among the deceased bodies is very disturbing and traumatizing. The environment of where the workers are doing labors doesn't help either. I struggled reading this chapter but at the same time it helped me understand on how brutal slavery was.

Jordan Barnes said...

When I was reading this story I found that it most disturbing when the people were forced to work as slaves, but right next to a dead body. The thought of working right next to a dead body gives me the chills. It's horrible how they treated these people with this condition.

Erin Myers said...

Kobie D.:

What I find the most unsettling about this story is the protagonist not allowing the slaves to address the death of Freddie. Yes, the slave owner leaving Freddie’s dead body in the field is extremely gruesome and was used as a fear tactic. However, I feel restricting the slaves' ability to discuss such tragedy leads to further trauma.

Erin Myers said...

Nadia G.:

There are a few unsettling things about this story. People didn’t mourn everyone. The working conditions were horrible. The work for slaves was already tremendously terrible but to add they had to work by deceased bodies who died before.

Erin Myers said...

Tracey H.:

What I found most disturbing was the working next to the dead body and the harsh working conditions. The thought of being next to a dead body is scary and the smell would be terrible as well. Also, no one wants to be worked like a slave so this is like a living a nightmare.

Erin Myers said...

Kambria C.:

What I found the most disturbing part of the story is the fact that those people were forced to work next to the dead body. I could only imagine how traumatic that could be for someone to have to endure. I also found it disturbing that they just left Freddie Lee in the field and didn't give him a proper burial.

Elizabeth Alao said...

What I found the most disturbing was leaving the body out to rot while others had to work around it to create fear in the community. I found that to be as inhumane as one human can inflict onto the world. It's show how African Americans were so degraded to the point that someone who died couldn't even be buried properly, let alone buried at all. That part is what struck me the most and concerned me greatly.

Bria Brandon said...

What I found most disturbing and unsettling about part of this story was the fact the workers were slaves and at that surrounding themselves next to a dead body! Can you even imagine the thoughts the workers may have or even what they were smelling coming from the dead body? Can you even picture how harsh their working conditions may be? I honestly just think the workers are very strong for even enduring things like this.

Sydney Laneice Piggott said...

I found it disturbing when they had to continue working next to the dead body. During slavery times, when a slave was killed in the fields, nobody was supposed to move the body. It is a reminder to know your place or this could be you next. It's degrading, so the fact they had to do that was kind of like what happened to slaves. Another thing was the chopped up dead cow.

Anonymous said...

Being a psych major, the first thing I thought about during this reading was their mental state. I can not imagine working next to a dead body not along with it being a friend of mines. It would have a great impact on your mental well-being.

Dasmin W

Unknown said...

I found it very chilling and unnerving that they had to work in such horrendous and inhumane conditions. It strips them of their value to have to work in such slave-like conditions, reaffirming their lack of power.

Ilysa Walker