Caetana Says No – by Sandra Lauderdale Graham September Caetana Says No has 92 ratings and 4 reviews. Hanna said: This is NOT a good introductory book into the subject matter of slavery. [Also, this is a good. These true and dramatic stories of two nineteenth-century Brazilian women; one young and born a slave, the other old and from an illustrious planter family;.

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Women’s Stories from a Brazilian Slave Society.

Caetana says no : women’s stories from a Brazilian slave society in SearchWorks catalog

By Sandra Lauderdale Graham. Cambridge University Press, These are the narratives of exceptional women in nineteenth-century Brazil. One is that of Caetana, a slave who sought to escape an undesired marriage via an annulment after her marriage to another slave.

On narrative is based on a core document: Caetana is a much broader study than this summary suggests, and it reveals meticulous archival research into diverse types of documents.

Unlike many authors who find a remarkable source and describe it without context, Graham is most careful to situate her historical subjects within the families of a specific slave society. Her “stories” illustrate the complex, ambiguous reality of everyday lives rather than slavery stereotypes ways brutal planters and docile slaves.

Caetana Says No: Women’s Stories from a Brazilian Slave Society

Caetana did say “no” after a marriage imposed on her by her master, but he also helped her seek an annulment. We do not know why she never married because she left no explanation; she could not read or write, which was then not uncommon among elite women.


And other than the annulment case, there is also very little about Caetana. ccaetana

In so far as her voice entered the official record, Caetana’s master reported that she did not want to marry anyone p.

We are then left with the question, why?

This brief reference suggests that we need to know more about the religious belief system by which the women ordered their lives. All of these women, and the planters in their lives, may have been motivated by nineteenth-century popular religious beliefs; the difficulty is to find a way to document ni.

As the author demonstrates, two Catholic priests lived in Caetana’s household, and they must have influenced the slave woman’s religious formation. Perhaps Caetana resisted a true marriage because she intended to become a beata, a lay religious woman.

Unfortunately, we do not know what happened to her after her petition for the annulment was denied and she was ordered “to go live with her husband. At least for the late colonial period, one insightful book on women’s religious lives is Leila Mezan Algranti’s, Honradas e Devotas: Sahs, Caetana is a finely crafted book on women’s lives under patriarchal planters. Readers will appreciate the author’s vivid descriptions and analysis of typical Brazilian social customs and gender roles caetanaa the nineteenth century.


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