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The Kitchen House
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The Kitchen House > We meet LAVINIA

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Brantford Public Library | 453 comments Mod
In the early chapters of this book, we meet Lavinia as a little girl and are introduced to the practice of indentured servitude.

Were you familiar with the concept of an indentured servant before you read this book? Based on the happenings in this book do you see much difference between this and slavery?


Anna (iudita) | 450 comments This was the first book I had ever read that dealt with the issue of an indentured servant.

In this story, Lavinia seemed to have more privledges and respect than the slaves in the kitchen house although I think that was as a result of her white skin more so than her status. I think in general indentured servants don't have a pleasant life. Your life is not your own and your working and living conditions are usually pretty bad. I think in most cases it is just a variation of slavery. Although it wasn't quite like that in this novel.


Karen (karen1278) | 428 comments I have read other stories about indentured servants, I can't think of the titles off hand but I'm sure they were Canadian. They were about men (mostly) who came to upper/lower Canada, could not pay passage from Europe or Britain and became farm hands. The time allotted to pay back was at least 7 years; a huge chunk of someone's life if you think about it. At the the end of the 7 years they were free to go where they chose but had little money to do so. A very hard life.


Karen (karen1278) | 428 comments I agree Anna, Lavinia is granted a few privileges since she is white. Miss Martha wants to teach her to read, she gets to stay with the kitchen staff where she will eat better food and gets to interact with the kids at the big house.


Natasha Buscombe-barton | 3 comments I had known of indentured servants prior to the book, though I was unaware of the term for such a situation. I was aware they had to work until deemed they had paid their debt.

I believe because of lavinia being white she was awarded privileges she would otherwise not have. like Karen said miss Martha taught her to read.


Karen (karen1278) | 428 comments So looking back at this discussion one thing that none of us has said, slavery is for life and your death. You were likely never treated fairly or with compassion. And most likely, the majority of slaves rarely escaped or were freed. Indentured servants certainly had difficult, hard lives as well and some were worked to death, as was Lavinias's brother. However, at the allotted length of time, you walked away and could move to another part of your adopted country where no-one knew your history.


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