Essay title: Puddin’head Wilson
Items of value and money were being taken from the Driscoll household. The only possible explanation was that one or more of the four slaves they owned were stealing. Percy demanded to know who it was and managed to get a confession out of three slaves in threatening to sell them all down the river should they remain silent. Roxy was the only slave who did not confess to the crime because she was completely innocent.
However, after the incident she feared for the well being of her child. She knew that at any time, either one of them could be sold down the river. All the slaves knew that the further down south you went, the worse off you were.
Slavery was much stronger and the treatment of slaves was far worse than it was in Mississippi. Slaves were worked harder and longer, discipline was harsher and punishments were more frequent and more severe. Most slaves would have rather died than be sold down the river. This is how Roxy felt and she most certainly did not want her child to be sold down the river. She determined that the only way to escape what she thought to be the inevitable was to kill her child and then herself. Death was a better fate then to have to suffer as a slave down South. So Roxy dressed herself up in good clothes that belonged to Mrs.
Driscoll. After looking at herself she realized she could not let her child leave this world wearing a potato sack. He, too, needed to go with style and dignity, so she clothed him in one of baby Tom’s gowns. Roxy always knew the babies were very similar in appearance, but it wasn’t until she put Tom’s clothes on Chambers that she thought of actually switching the babies. Switching the babies would be a perfect alternative to killing Chambers and committing suicide, and she would never have to see her child be sold down the river. Not only that, but her son would be raised as a white child, and would be the only black in her time to be treated with such respect and live with as much privileges as a Driscoll child would be. Roxy went ahead with this master plan and switched the two children, and for twenty-five years, nobody was the wiser. The baby switch was a disaster from the beginning.
“Tom” was a horrible baby. He was weak and sickly and constantly cried and whined. As soon as he became old enough to talk his selfish personality surfaced.