That’s great, but why even mention that? The facts and rules of the sciences are essentially set, as are many of the pathways required to understand and then apply them. Obviously. Those four cousins faced many issues related to attaining their qualifications that were not reasonable however. Perhaps they didn’t notice, but they’d be in a tiny minority if so. In the last 40 years, we’ve been trying to deal with those issues. This sounds like a continuation of that. So what is the issue? Doing nothing different is not an option. Do you not understand that?
Underlying the novel’s focus on black ownership of other slaves is what happens to slaves when their master dies. Once Henry Townsend dies, the order and rule of society falls apart as slaves make a run for freedom, freed slaves are put back into bondage and the white society that lives around the property no longer have restrictions placed upon their violence. Thus the story come around to lending the full dimension of meaning to its title. The Known World of Townsend’s unique slaves degenerates into an entity commingling freedom and disorder.
Similarly, Henry fails to understand that he is replicating the evils of slavery on his own farm, even as he assumes his regime will be a significant improvement over the regime of any white slaveholder. In reality, Henry is just as neglectful, punitive, and insensitive to the human rights of his slaves. In one case, Henry had one of the sheriff’s deputies, the Cherokee Oden Peoples, slice his slave Elias Freeman’s ear as discipline after Elias had tried to run away; Henry also allows one of his young black slaves to be worked to death in a neighboring field.