May 29, 2018


Advocate of the black people. Judge of the Portuguese who colonized Brazil, Gilberto Freyre presents us, in his book The Big House and the Quarters, with the liveliness of the energy to be cultivated in a more and more powerful Brazil in terms of civilization.

The black slaves had already come with a stigma that in Africa they were only entitled to be sold by their own fellow countrymen. When they were “placed” here, the stigma became worse, it’s possible to realize a given drive to “overcome” their situation. And until today, with the bullying some of them witness or undergo, they seem to feel the need “to be better”, as though they were different from humankind as a whole because of their race.

However, the author reserves, in his book of 727 pages about Brazil as a colony, differently from the unity of theme of each one of the other three, two sections called “the black slave in the sexual and family life of Brazilians”, in which he addresses the relationship of the slave with the lord, how the black woman and mainly the mulatta were treated by the white woman as an object of jealousy, and even envy because of the preference the lords had for them. The quality of technique, upper in the slave black, and even in the freed ones, because the settlers were too lascivious and truly passive faced with the difficulties of life in Brazil then.

Gilberto Freyre approaches the early difficulties the colonists had with the soil. Why the female natives taught them how to deal with the earth, which was inhospitable for the agriculture with which they were used in Portugal, and the male natives were only fighting battles. The marriages with female natives, for lack of white women, in addition to other aspects that differed the Brazilian colonization from those occurred in other former-colonies.

He reserves two separate sections in which he addresses the differences of the Portuguese and the natives, allowing us to conclude that, concerning the colonizers, the natives will be the eternal distinguished ones for the clean, hygienic and healthy Brazil where we have it today or where we may have in the future. Moreover, a cleanliness, hygiene and health that neither slavery corrupted, nor the black slaves allowed to be abandoned after abolition, and that the conqueror accommodated or even assimilated from the conquered.

Despite being apparently extensive, the book is only a little part of all vivacity of the large work by Gilberto Freyre.

[In: Freyre, Gilberto. Casa-Grande & Senzala. 51 ed. São Paulo: Global, 2006, 727 p.]

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