The Longest Memory

by

Fred D’Aguiar

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Longest Memory can help.
Although Sanders Junior shows promise as a young boy seemingly interested in interrogating the moral roots racism and slavery, as an adult overseer, he ultimately replicates Sanders Senior’s propensity for violence. However, he proves conflicted about the whipping of the young slave Chapel, whom he did not know was his half-brother until after the young boy’s death. Although Sanders Junior believes that his most important duty on the plantation is to remind slaves that they are inferior to him and therefore must obey him, he also feels guilty about hitting Whitechapel and killing his son, because he recognizes their bravery and intelligence. By the end of the novel, despite his attachment to rigid racial hierarchies, he seems open to feeling compassion and respect for the two slaves, as he feels sorry for their suffering.

Sanders Junior Quotes in The Longest Memory

The The Longest Memory quotes below are all either spoken by Sanders Junior or refer to Sanders Junior. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Longest Memory published in 2017.
Chapter 2: Mr. Whitechapel Quotes

“This inhuman display parading as discipline is a regular occurrence on these so-called ‘tightly run’ operations. I tell you all the evidence supports my belief that as a long-term measure it is a disaster. Contrary to their arguments, such rough handling provides rougher responses. The human spirit is passive in some but nature shows us that it is rebellious in most.”

Related Characters: Mr. Whitechapel (speaker), Chapel, Sanders Junior, Plantation Owners
Related Symbols: Whip
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

“Africans may be our inferiors, but they exhibit the same qualities we possess, even if they are merely imitating us. Their management is best exemplified by an approach that treats them first and foremost as subjects of God, though blessed with lesser faculties, and therefore suited to the trade of slavery.”

Related Characters: Mr. Whitechapel (speaker), Chapel, Sanders Junior
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3: Sanders Senior Quotes

I told my son that we are different from slaves in intelligence and human standing before God. He asked why Whitechapel could do a knot that I couldn’t do. His first joke. Not a bad one. I said doing things like that was not a proper measure of intelligence. Then he asked why they were dark and we were bright. His word “bright.”

Related Characters: Sanders Senior (speaker), Whitechapel, Sanders Junior
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6: Plantation Owners Quotes

“How could your Whitechapel watch and not intervene?”

“He lost a son in deference to authority.”

“Name your price. That slave of yours is a slaver’s dream.”

“He’s still not for sale.”

“He deserves your family name.”

“Well said indeed.”

“If he were white he’d still be rare.”

“Let’s drink a toast. To Whitechapel and to his slave.”

Related Characters: Mr. Whitechapel (speaker), Plantation Owners (speaker), Whitechapel, Chapel, Sanders Junior
Related Symbols: Whip
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13: Sanders Junior Quotes

“I couldn’t strike you. You showed me how to run things. My father spoke highly of you. You were a better overseer than I. There I was, thinking I was the first one to rise in the morning, setting an example for everyone, and you were out here even before me. Always first and last in everything. I am sorry about your son. Not my brother. I knew him only as the son of a slave. He was trouble from the day he talked. He not only asked questions but when you gave him an answer he was never satisfied. He always asked why: Why this? Why that?”

Related Characters: Sanders Junior (speaker), Whitechapel, Chapel
Related Symbols: Whip
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Longest Memory LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Longest Memory PDF

Sanders Junior Character Timeline in The Longest Memory

The timeline below shows where the character Sanders Junior appears in The Longest Memory. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Whitechapel
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...could get them punished, Whitechapel and the other slaves beg the overseer (later revealed as Sanders Junior ) to spare Whitechapel’s son from more lashes. However, the boy is always able to... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...subsequently doesn't see the deputy anywhere on the plantation, he begins to panic. The overseer, Sanders Junior , tells Whitechapel that the deputy is never at the plantation at night. Whitechapel realizes... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Despite the danger of contradicting Sanders Junior ’s desire, Whitechapel tells him that he and four other witnesses can attest to hearing... (full context)
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Angry at Sanders Junior ’s action, Whitechapel’s son tries to attack the overseer but is restrained by the men... (full context)
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...night. Chapel calls out for Cook (who died the previous day), and Whitechapel begs the Sanders Junior to whip him in Chapel’s place, saying that his son is all he has. Sanders... (full context)
Chapter 2: Mr. Whitechapel
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Back on the plantation the next day, Mr. Whitechapel launches in a long monologue to Sanders Junior , the deputy, and Whitechapel, accusing all of them of behaving foolishly and causing Chapel’s... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
...is only his seniority that has kept him from being punished for his behavior toward Sanders Junior . He tells Whitechapel to apologize to him, which Whitechapel seemingly does. (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
...the deputy for leaving the plantation and angrily demands an explanation. Mr. Whitechapel also tells Sanders Junior that, because of the overseer’s behavior, he could have very well returned from his trip... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Mr. Whitechapel also scolds Sanders Junior for hitting Whitechapel and whipping Chapel to death in front of him, invoking Whitechapel’s honorable... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...she became pregnant, but that Whitechapel accepted the illegitimate child (Chapel) as his own. Seeing Sanders Junior ’s shock, Mr. Whitechapel realizes with surprise that the man did not know this. (full context)
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Mr. Whitechapel adds that Whitechapel could have used this fact to keep Sanders Junior from whipping his own half-brother (Chapel) to death, but that Whitechapel probably assumed Sanders did... (full context)
Chapter 3: Sanders Senior
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...no one will ever be able to replace her. He refuses to tell his son, Sanders Junior , how his mother died, although Sanders Senior does tell his son that she is... (full context)
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Sanders Senior tells Sanders Junior that slaves are intellectually inferior. When his son replies that Whitechapel can tie a knot... (full context)
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...Senior is caught beating a slave, Mr. Whitechapel reprimands him, which irritates the overseer. On Sanders Junior ’s birthday, which is also the anniversary of Caroline’s death, Sanders Senior can smell what... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
A few days later, Sanders Senior scolds Cook for answering one of Sanders Junior ’s questions about death, while Whitechapel teaches him to click his heels, which annoys his... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...Cook to his room. On one occasion, he scolds her for once again talking to Sanders Junior about issues unrelated to her position and, as a punishment, slaps her, which makes her... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Over the next few months, Sanders Senior keeps on refusing to tell Sanders Junior about Caroline’s death, and Sanders Senior also makes fun of his son’s aspirations to become... (full context)
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Sanders Senior finally tells Sanders Junior that his mother, Caroline, died in childbirth, which upsets the boy terribly. In September, Cook... (full context)
Chapter 6: Plantation Owners
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
...incredulous at hearing this story. Mostly, they do not understand how Whitechapel could have let Sanders Junior whip his own half-brother to death. Mr. Whitechapel explains that Whitechapel simply refused to stand... (full context)
Chapter 13: Sanders Junior
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Sanders Junior engages in an imaginary dialogue with Whitechapel, who is now dead. He is surprised to... (full context)
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Sanders Junior explains that he could never have hit Whitechapel hard, because he learned his entire trade... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Sanders Junior wonders why Whitechapel was not capable of keeping Chapel from running away and places the... (full context)
Freedom vs. Obedience Theme Icon
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Sanders Junior insists that slavery is a business, and that all the slaves’ lives belong to Mr.... (full context)
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Punishment and Cruelty Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Sanders Junior orders people to cover Whitechapel before moving his body and even gives his jacket for... (full context)
Racism and Inequality Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Family Theme Icon
Sanders Junior reflects on his act of giving Whitechapel his jacket, which used to belong to his... (full context)