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The Great Transformations

            The voyage in Charles Johnson's Middle Passage can be equated to a rite of passage that changes the lives and views of all those involved. Since the main character, Rutherford Calhoun, is the only black member of a crew on the Republic, it is only natural that he would be influenced by the rest of the group. The likelihood of change is heightened by the fact that this vessel is transporting slaves as well as cargo. These slaves, referred to as the Allmuseri, undergo the most drastic change of anyone on the ship. These changes are not only influenced by the numerous cultures on the ship, but also by the gravity of the mutiny and extreme hardships that occur from being at sea as long as they were.
             The most significant change of any individual or group during this voyage is that of the Allmuseri. They were treated so horribly that one could see that it would only be a matter of time before they realized that they outnumbered the crew and decided to revolt. At the onset of the trip, they are not even treated as people as they are included on a list of cargo that would be transported on the Republic. (pg. 64-65) To add to this treatment, Calhoun describes how Capt. Falcon packs the slaves on the ship.
             He was, as they say, a tight-packer if you arranged Africans in two parallel rows, their backs against the lining of the ship's belly, this left a free space at their rusty feet, and that, given the flexibility of bone and skin, could be squeezed with even more slaves if you made the squat at ninety-degree angles at one another. (pg. 120).
             As unimaginable as that may seem, this was not the worst treatment that the slaves received.
             During the course of the journey, the crew commits numerous atrocities against the slaves. For example, each one of them receives three brands to mark who owned them. (pg 121) Some violations are public humiliation. They parade the men around naked in front of their children.

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