Summary and Analysis Chapter 31



Upon arriving in Philadelphia, the ship's captain introduces Fanny and Linda to Rev. Jeremiah Durham, a kind man who invites Linda to stay with him and his wife, and finds a place for Fanny with one of his friends. After Linda spends five days with Rev. and Mrs. Durham, who treat her like family, she and Fanny continue their journey to New York. During this trip, Linda has her first taste of discrimination in the North when she learns that blacks are not allowed to ride in the first-class section of trains.


Linda struggles to come to terms with the challenges of freedom and sheds her mental shackles. She has not yet fully internalized the fact that she is no longer a slave, having been thoroughly conditioned to respond as such. For example, in the middle of the night when the fire bells ring, Linda hurriedly dresses and prepares to help fight the fire, as she would have been expected to do when she was a slave.

When Mrs. Durham takes her to an artist's gallery and shows her the portraits of her children, Linda is struck by the beauty of the paintings, because she has never seen portraits of black people before. Her brief acquaintance with Rev. Durham's family and her visit to the gallery provide Linda with her first exposure to black middle-class life. Possibly, these experiences enable her to envision a better life for herself and her children and fuel her determination to secure her freedom.