Harrower and Bluett

The Diary of John Harrower is a first-hand account of a man migrating to Virginia in order to pay off debts and earn more money. Throughout his journal entries, Harrower describes the moments in his life which are mostly small happenings of the day. The journal entries provided a lot of information on the life of Harrower including his lower-class lifestyle, his devotion to the Christian faith, and his hope to bring his whole family to settle in Virginia. His diary also included copies of letters that he sent to his wife and others, and the letters largely reflected the information in his entries especially the idea of bringing his whole family to the Americas. Harrower seems to have his own obstacles in navigating the process of migration the biggest seemingly to do with his lower class and how he needs more money to pay for basic necessities. This does not negate though that Harrower seems to have some opportunities and has some skill that greatly increases his chance of succeeding in the Americas.

Some Memoirs of the life of Job by Thomas Bluett is the story of Job a high priest who was captured into slavery and his journey returning to his home. Bluett writes the major events of what occurred to Job, how he was captured, and sold ‘by accident’. What is notable about this reading is the treatment of Job throughout these events. In the beginning, he was treated like a normal slave and at certain points was even degraded for his perceived status, like when the boy threw dirt in his face during his prayer, but when others realized that he was not supposed to be a slave and was a high priest he was treated better and more like an actual person. What I found even more ironic was how Bluett during his conclusion talked about the ways that people meet on another and acknowledging Job’s personhood without acknowledging how Job was stripped of that when he was perceived as a slave. Concerning the topic of migration, it seems that Job has been placed in one of the many scenarios that we discussed where someone may end up migrating through countries, even if it was to some extent by force.

Comparing both pieces they provide very different experiences in the journey of migration. Many of these differences have to do with circumstance, how John had some choice in the matter of his movement while Job had none, and others have to do with the differences drawn by race mostly with how Job was perceived as a slave due to his skin color. But I also noted that both men had a higher skill set and to some extent, this aided both of them in their goals through their journey, and how both men were very close to their own religious beliefs and how they saw their journies as a part of their respective god’s plans.

2 thoughts on “Harrower and Bluett

  1. I agree with what you said about how people treated Job without acknowledging him as a person and not a salve. I noticed it but didn’t expand as I was reading. It is kind of ironic too because compared to John (who had better opportunities) was treated differently since he was educated. It shows how people would be treated and looked at differently based on what they could prove they could do.

  2. Interesting thoughts! I first want to say that yes, I completely agree that their circumstances greatly influenced their eventual position in America; unfortunately, JOB’s race put him at an unfair disadvantage in a country that already did not value African Americans highly, whereas Harrower entered a predominantly white Virginia with the privilege that came along with being of European descent. I know you mentioned that both men had developed skill sets; I would disagree with that for one reason alone. JOB was at an extreme disadvantage because he could not clearly speak English at first, the more common means of communication in the New World at that point. He also had not been used to completing physical labor in Africa, as he came from somewhat royalty, so he could not successfully complete many of the “typical” slave duties (not that he should have to do them at all). Harrower on the other hand, to my knowledge, did not have experience as a schoolteacher, yet he was thrown into the position upon arrival. Now, obviously, this is much simpler for him because he speaks English, but I am not sure if he was trained as a teacher specifically.

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