Whisper of the Waves: A Novella Exploring the Transatlantic Slave Ship Experience




Hernandez, Eren Nicole

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A vehicle for the rise of Capitalism, the transatlantic slave trade changed the trajectory of the whole world’s history. The slave ship was the engine of the Atlantic trade, carrying cargo, culture, money and lives through the Atlantic world. “Whisper of the Waves” is a historical fiction following the chronicles of Phineas, a nine-year old sailor boy from the slums of Liverpool. The value in historical fiction is the genre’s ability to humanize events from the far past that are often clouded with figures and facts, while also resonating with relevance to today’s human conditions. For historical accuracy, I have been informed through primary sources of the time such as documents, letters and journals from the slave trade, Liverpool and the Eighteenth century. I have also used a variety secondary sources of historical scholarship, such as the work of Marcus Rediker on the slave ship and trade. The horrors of the slave trade are revealed through the lens of young Phineas, as he explores self-development, the intricate slave ship, Atlantic waters, slave-holding castles and ports off the coast of West Africa. Phineas has joined the slave trade as a means to pull his family out of poverty, but he quickly learns the toll of the trade on the human heart. The slave ship produced deplorable conditions for all residents, but the human cargo experienced the most inhumane treatment. The crewmen were merely investments, and the enslaved were solely for profit. Along the emotional and physical tumult of the voyage, irony intersects as pirates ultimately play the moral agents. A former sailor, in company of abolitionists, raid the vessel and take Phineas, along with other crewmen and slaves, under their protection. In this coming-of-age tale, repression of guilt and morality are central in the greedy endeavors of the Captain, merchants, traders, and even general crewmen.



transatlantic trade, slave-ship, eighteenth century, historical fiction, buildings, Roman, Liverpool, Atlantic, sailor, Honors College


Hernandez, E. N. (2018). Whisper of the waves: A novella exploring the transatlantic slave ship experience (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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